Testing company CTB told the Department of Education earlier this week that there are issues with scoring this year's ISTEP exams, and on Wedneday, the State Board of Education heard from the company about the likely delays that the problem will cause.
Company officials said that the problem stems from new, technology enhanced questions that allow students to type in their answer to any given test item. Students who typed in a correct answer, but one which wasn’t recognized as correct by the computer system, are currently being penalized as submitting a wrong answer.
CTB president Ellen Haley said the company is going back over those answers to make sure students get credit for correct work, but that will add an extra month to the process. That means cut scores likely won’t be available until October, and final student scores until December. A-F grades for schools and teacher evaluations won’t be calculated until January or February.
Board member Gordon Hendry said that waiting that long for accountability measures is unacceptable.
“My concern is that schools receive their grades essentially for the assessments that were given earlier this year almost a full year after their kids have taken the test,” Hendry said.
This was the last year of the state’s contract with CTB. Testing company Pearson will take over the ISTEP for spring 2016.