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ISTEP+ delayed for some local school districts

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) — Several area school districts are reportedly having problems administering the ISTEP+ exam. One of those districts is Franklin Community Schools.

Franklin Schools was set to start testing students at one elementary school Thursday and the rest of its eight schools would begin Friday and Monday. But due to technical problems, Wednesday’s test has been postponed.

Representatives at the Indiana Department of Education said it typically takes a few days to resolve issues, but because they don’t know exactly what’s going on at Franklin Community Schools, they can’t say exactly how long testing will be delayed.

The DOE is in the process of reviewing what they refer to as “disruption reports” to resolve the problem. Franklin Community School Director of Technology Matt Sprout is concerned delays may impact overall test results.

“As the testing window is already open, the sooner we can get this test started, the more comfortable we’ll feel in completing it,” said Sprout.

Sprout says the district has been running practice tests all week. The practice exams test student readiness as well as how well the computers are functioning.

“Whenever there is an issue, whatever it is, the DOE requires that we file a disruption report. That can be anything from a question on operating correctly to slowness,” said Sprout.

According to the DOE, every year schools have technical issues that have to do with hardware and/or software. If they aren’t able to resolve the issues, schools will have to go back to using traditional paper tests.

“We’re completely computerized, but if they mandate paper (and) pencil, then we’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Sprout.

Kirby Cochran has a daughter in the seventh grade. He already doesn’t approve of standardized testing.

“It’s a lot of pressure on the kids, to add this to it, I’m not sure it’s going to be a good measure of what these kids’ base knowledge is,” said Cochran.

Although the DOE doesn’t know when the issues will be resolved, or even if they’ll be resolved, Sprout is confident that his district will make the grade.

“It will get worked out one way or another. Undoubtedly, we’ll work through it and figure out a solution,” said Sprout.

The DOE said they’ve administered 82,000 testing sessions and so far, the interruption rate is less than 1%. Franklin Community Schools said, they haven’t heard from the DOE at all, and aren’t sure if their technical issue has even been reviewed.