Local schools react to 3rd party looking at ISTEP scores - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local schools react to 3rd party looking at ISTEP scores

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Many Michiana students were interrupted during ISTEP testing in May. That's why local administrators are keeping a close eye on what happens with the test results.

"I do think it's very important that we look at validity of ISTEP interrupted," says Penn Harris Madison Schools assistant superintendent Dr. Kay Antonelli.

She says students were ready to take the ISTEP, but over 900 of them were interrupted. "It is difficult for them when something makes them stop working on it."

She says these distractions could have repercussions, which is why she is thankful the state is looking into the validity of the results. "We want to be able to have confidence that the information we receive is a true indication of what children know and what they can do."

Monday's announcement that the Indiana DOE will hire a third party to look at test results was a relief. "A third party should be bringing an unbiased eye to it, a critical eye can help in many situations."

Mishawaka Schools Superintendent Terry Barker also likes the idea of a third party. "We had students ready to test and we were prepared. There was a disruption to the testing and it's not a bad move to make by taking a third party to assess."

Elkhart Community Schools had similar reactions. "She's addressing the validity at an individual level and that was our main concern," says program evaluation director, Shawn Hannon.

She says over a third of their students were interrupted and Elkhart Schools were expected to improve this year. "If we get results that show something different than that I'll be very frustrated."

She says Elkhart Schools have been using computer testing for a few years and  this is the first time they've had problems. "We never had this type of problem when we were using number two pencils."

There's no indication the state will be ditching the computers, but local administrators say clearly there are some issues to be resolved going forward.

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