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Damages sought for ISTEP delay

September 6, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS : Indiana Department of Education officials plan to seek damages against testing vendor Pearson for scoring issues and a delay of ISTEP+ results.

The contract allows for daily damages between 150,000, but Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick said the full impact won’t be known until results are finalized.

“It’s frustrating. Our team works really, really hard to get things right,” she said. “We’re at the mercy of the vendor getting it right.”

Pearson notified the department Friday that two scoring issues were found : one impacting just the Grade 10 test and one impacting all grades.

Results were supposed to be released publicly Wednesday until the errors were found. McCormick said once the problems were identified Pearson has been responsive but the errors occurred late in the game.

It is the latest in what seems to be annual problems with test administration stretching to multiple vendors.

One question on the Grade 10 test was scored inaccurately : impacting 22,000 students. The state has been told the second problem impacts a “small number” of students but Pearson has given no more information.

DOE Assessment Director Charity Flores said the rescored data should be posted for schools by Friday, which would start a 14-day appeal process. Results will be public sometime after that.

The State Board of Education on Wednesday also approved a resolution making any student’s score that is “undetermined” after corrections to count toward a student’s participation rate.

That’s because participation rate is part of the formula used for A-to-F accountability grades and the issues identified by Pearson may have a detrimental effect on school’s participation rates.

Despite the delay in ISTEP+ results : the bulk of the data behind the accountability grades : education officials remain on track to release the A-F grades to the public Nov. 14.

nkelly@jg.net

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