Sunday, December 13, 2015

Computer Glitch May Have Scored Thousands Of ISTEP Tests Incorrectly

The Indianapolis Star has a disturbing report of the company paid nearly $24 million covering up a computer glitch in the scoring of the ISTEP tests administered annually to students across the state of Indiana that could have affected thousands of test results. Testing supervisors for CTB McGraw Hill who spoke to The Star say company officials decided to leave the results unchanged even after the computer glitch was brought to their attention. Accuracy of the test results is critical since they are used to gauge school and teacher performance. Faulty results could cause schools to be deemed failing schools subject to takeover or negatively impact teacher pay.

The Department of Education learned of the issue through an anonymous letter it received November 25. In a December 8 letter, CTB assured the Department the test scores were unaffected by the computer glitch. The testing supervisors spoke to The Star on the condition of anonymity due to a non-disclosure agreement they signed with their employer that could jeopardize their employment if they violate it. The Department had earlier decided not to renew its contract with CTB after this year. Some supervisors believed the company didn't want to redo scoring to correct the problem on tests scored prior to the discovery of the problem due to the additional cost, which some supervisors estimated could be as high as $500,000. The story indicates the computer glitch could be corrected by having data entry employees use a mouse click instead of a keyboard entry.

Click here to read the fully story at the Indianapolis Star.


leon dixon said...

If you click on the link, be sure to read the comments....wherein the errors of the story are brought to light and some of the motives of those howling are also. I really do think ISTEP is not suitable for teacher evaluation. It was not designed for such use. ISTEP did have e a valuable protection for teachers at one time, a crude measure of IQ per classroom. While not a total absolution, say, for IPS, it did give a leg to stand on since most of IPS was well below average in IQ. The ISTEP test results could be suggestive of bad teachers and data mining for all of Indiana along those lines would cost less than $250,000 or so but that would only be showing up the bad teachers, suggestively, only maybe 8% or less. I have little doubt that further investigation would be needed and useful were the evaluation sorts empowered to make changes including immediate termination of disaster level teachers.
The concerted effort by our dopes to end accurate description of student academic achievement is criminal. A kid or a parent or a taxpayer has but two methods by which the truth of the matter can be obtained: The opinion of a well educated and informed teacher well versed in the subject matter being taught (lots of luck with that one in Indiana), 2) well designed standardized tests designed to inform...not the ISTEP as modified by those who wished to continue the lying).

Anonymous said...

I concluded long ago that ISTEP is a political sham perpetrated by politicians attempting to show they are "doing something" to improve public education when the facts prove opposite. Society's problems can often be laid at the feet of politicians "doing something" as their attempts to engineer- as in the now sad state of public education- fail no matter how much money these career politicians throw at the NEA or toss out through their social legislation.