Standardized test scores for Indiana students will be delayed more than a month because the company hired to run the exam has hit a roadblock in grading a portion of the exam.
Ellen Haley, the president of CTB/McGraw-Hill Education, told the State Board of Education today that it could be late as December before schools receive ISTEP scores for students in grades three to eight.
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz said she was frustrated that scores would be delayed a month but said validity of the exam was vital.
“I want to make sure that kids are getting credit for everything on their tests,” Ritz said. “And since it is the first time for the technology enhanced items, we will just have to make sure we have it absolutely right.”
ISTEP scores are used in calculating a teacher's evaluation and a school's grade on the state's A-F accountability scale.The delay will also likely push the calculation of A-to-F school and district grades to early next year.
But Steve Yager, and some other state board members, told Haley that there is more troubling result of CTB’s ongoing testing problems in the state.
“What's happening is -- boys and girls are just being damaged, and teachers are being damaged by the ineffective practices of your company,” Yager said. “And I am looking forward to you delivering, what you said you could deliver because we educators, are extremely disappointed."
StateImpact report that Indiana Department of Education staff informed State Board of Education members that they had learned of the CTB delay late Monday afternoon.
“CTB-McGraw Hill informed us that there will be a delay in the delivery of the scores of the 2014-15 ISTEP+ administration,” the email reads. “This will require a change of the timeline for providing ISTEP+ results to the field.”
Haley said that 100 of 349 computerized questions could not be graded correctly because student answers were not part of an expected set of responses that would be reviewed by a computer program.
Haley contended that the inability to grade the answers was not a failure of CTB but due to student responses.
The spring ISTEP was the first to use "enhanced" version of test questions. This requires students to manipulate digital items and answer open ended questions.
Testing companies have added these type of questions as a way to test a student's knowledge of the so-called "college and career ready" academic standards. Indiana adopted the current version of these math and English standards last year.
This is not the first time CTB has come under fire or that Haley has come before the state officials to apologize for problems.
Earlier this year, Gov. Mike Pence spoke out against the length of the test that the company prepared. That lead to the ISTEP being reduced in scope less than two weeks before the first part of testing began.
In 2013, Ritz and CTB agreed to a $3.3 million settlement because of widespread disruptions during the 2012-13 tests. The value of the settlement was based on credits and in-kind services.
CTB had been working under a four-year, $95 million contract to create and administer the ISTEP. The contract was extended for an additional year.
The British-based testing company Pearson was picked for a $38 million, two year-contract to oversee ISTEP starting the 2015-16 school year.