ISTEP testing to resume at regular levels Monday

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The Indiana Department of Education says ISTEP+ testing will continue at schools across the state next Monday at regular testing levels.

The online portion of the mandatory test was plagued by technical problems earlier this week, forcing the state to cancel testing two days in a row. By Wednesday, testing levels were at 50 percent to reduce load on the system.

Student performance on the standardized tests is required by law to be used in the state's A-F accountability grading system. The results of the test determine teacher merit pay and also have an impact on school funding.

The Department of Education announced Friday it has been assured by the contractor, CTB/McGraw-Hill, that fixes to its servers will allow schools to test at normal levels next week.

Education officials asked schools on Friday to continue to cut the number of students taking tests in half to avoid computer problems, just as they had done the previous two days. Schools have reported minimal interruptions through midday Friday, when more than 175,000 testing sessions were completed. In total, more than 1.2 million testing sessions have been completed this week, about 48 percent of the total expected.

Superintendent Glenda Ritz has been in touch with superintendents throughout the state about the testing issues they encountered this week. The IDOE says she remains committed to working with schools, students and parents to ensure that they have the time they need to guarantee all Hoosier students have the opportunity to take a fair test.

Meantime, at least one educator is calling for an investigation into the reliability of ISTEP tests.

The Journal Gazette reports Mark GiaQuinta and other district officials on Friday questioned the validity of the test results because of computer problems.