A state-hired consultant has determined that widespread online interruptions during testing didn’t negatively impact student scores on the ISTEP this spring.
In fact, Richard Hill, of the National Center the Improvement of Assessment, found that students who were interrupted during testing had slightly higher gains in scores across years than those who were not interrupted.
However, state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz said in a statement Monday this doesn’t mitigate the effect the interruptions had on students, parents and teachers throughout the state.
“We cannot know definitively how students would have scored this spring if the interruptions had not happened,” she said in the release.
Therefore, Ritz said, she’s given local schools the flexibility to “minimize the effect these tests have on various matters, such as teacher evaluation and compensation.”
A new law requires districts to have an evaluation system that takes into consideration student ISTEP scores.
Superintendent Terry Barker said Mishawaka schools won’t need any further flexibility when it comes to grading teachers based on the ISTEP.
The rubric the district uses for teacher evaluations, which has been approved by the state, has 20 indicators teachers are measured upon, ISTEP results being one.
“We already downplayed the impact of student testing,” Barker said, “... gave it equal footing for other expectations.”
Hill’s report on the impact of the interruptions concludes “There is considerable evidence that the interruptions had no negative impact on student scores for the vast majority of students; indeed, students who were interrupted had somewhat larger gains across years than those who were not interrupted.
“Given the volume and the nature of the interruptions, this finding certainly will come as a surprise to many.”
Although no was collected to confirm this hypothesis, Hill said, it could be that the response to the interruptions by students and school staff members, was positive enough to overcome the potential problems caused by them.
Ritz, meanwhile, said the Indiana Department of is in negotiations with CTB McGraw-Hill, the testing contractor, regarding a settlement.
David Freitas, a South Bend member of the Indiana Board of Education, said the ISTEP interruptions experienced this year are unacceptable.
Ritz said the Indiana DOE’s next steps will be making ISTEP scores available online to families and calculating A through F accountability results for schools.