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Indiana Officials Say Online ISTEP Troubles Fixed
Updated May 5, 2013 12:11 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - ISTEP testing kicked off Monday with some glitches, but with no repeats of last year's widespread online problems.

Those problems came when a contractor's system failed.

"There have been some isolated incidents but no systematic problems. The system itself seemed to be running smoothly," said Alex Damron, State Department of Education.

Problems were at the school level. Hamilton Southeastern had some computer glitches, but they were quickly solved. One school district loaded the wrong program into testing computers and, at one private east side school, students encountered slowdowns.

"It was kind of going slow when I was trying to click on the next problem," said Kendra Velazquez.

"When I would click on an answer, I would have to click on it more than three times for it to register that it accepted my answer," said Bo Sims.

Paper math tests were faster, some of the seventh graders said.

"When we did it on the computer, I felt I was in a bigger rush and I did not have a lot of time to go back and check my answers," said Meredith Kimmell.

"I just barely finished the test when the timer ran out," Sims said.

"It was loading to give me the last question and I finished it with about a minute to spare before the timer went off," said Ben Barth.

It is unclear why that happened. The State Department of Education says it helped schools check their systems for compatibility and capacity.

This year, the state did stress testing in January. All the systems went through a dry run to make sure they were ready and to look for weaknesses.

Margie Higgs, principal at IPS School 91 Montessori Magnet, says the stress test "was kind of disastrous for us."

The test gave schools like IPS 91 time to replace older computers with their front line units for online testing.

"We would have not been able to test this morning had we not fixed the errors we had in the first go-around," Higgs said.

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