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ISTEP-Plus Testing Resumes After Another Computer Glitch
Updated May 5, 2013 1:12 AM
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(UNDATED) - Lawrence County students resumed taking the state-mandated ISTEP-Plus exams today after another computer glitch suspended the first day of online testing Monday and then again on Tuesday.

Mike Lewis of the Times-Mail reports Lawrence County school leaders are hoping the third time is a charm for the state-mandated ISTEP-Plus exam.

Tuesday, for the second straight day, online testing was suspended because of computer problems. Schools are to be told at 6 a.m. Wednesday if the problems have been fixed so testing can resume.

For many, Tuesday presented a repeat of Monday.

"We were able to test this morning fairly smoothly," Darcy Clark, assessment coordinator for the North Lawrence schools, said Tuesday. "Our problems started a little after 10 a.m. ... More and more schools reported they were experiencing the same problems they had yesterday (when 27,000 Hoosier students struggled to connect online and complete the tests)."

Vendor CBT/McGraw-Hill LLC initially reported all testing systems were running fine Tuesday. But it changed its status as students began logging in and connection problems arose, urging schools to suspend testing until 12:30 p.m.

As the problems persisted after 12:30 p.m., Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz ordered testing halted, as she did on Monday.

The ISTEP-Plus exam is taken by students in third through eighth grades. Phillip Storm, assistant superintendent of the Mitchell schools, says students started testing Monday but then had to stop.

Technical teams at both school corporations spent significant time communicating with the state and the testing company, trying to work out the bugs. DOE officials said 27,000 Hoosier students were affected.

The testing contractor, CTB McGraw-Hill LLC of Carol Stream, Ill., was working to resolve the problem. School officials reported that computer screens froze for up to five minutes at a time and that students were forced to log back into their computers repeatedly.

Some students completed only a few questions. Others, according to The Indianapolis Star, completed the test, but took twice as long as planned.

Results of exams are used not only to measure individual student progress, but also to evaluate teachers and grade schools. CTB McGraw-Hill has a four-year contract with the state worth $95 million to administer the test.

The state has extended the days in which students must take the exam, because of the glitch.

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