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ISTEP testing ‘a mess again this year’

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – The window for the online portion of the ISTEP test is now open and closes on May 15.

It includes English, Math, and Science sections and is said to take a minimum of six hours to complete. As teachers prepare their students for the statewide exam, they’re reporting many problems.

Officials said students at Indian Creek, Franklin, Greenwood, Center Grove, and Clark-Pleasant schools experienced issues while taking practice tests. Some students were kicked off of the testing website. They were unable to answer some questions and had to wait several seconds before their answer was registered and the next question appeared.

Creekside Elementary School Principal Mark Heiden said in an email to 24-Hour News 8 that his students are taking the ISTEP practice test on Thursday and Friday before they take the exam on Monday.

“It certainly is a mess again this year,” Heiden said in his email. “I certainly do not mind accountability, but I want it to be fair and I want it to work well so that our kids have the chance to show all that they know.”

Heiden also said in his email that it seems the Department of Education could move several schools from online testing to paper and pencil testing. Heiden said Franklin Community Schools is waiting to hear from the state regarding which testing method Franklin students will use. They expect to have an answer on Thursday.

The Department of Education ran a stress test on the website and found multiple blank screens, which is another issue schools are reporting, 24-Hour News 8’s news partners at The Daily Journal report.

Schools have had problems with the online portion of the ISTEP test the last three of the six years students have been required to take it online. That prompted hearings at the Statehouse and this year lawmakers have considered ditching the company that runs ISTEP for another provider.

School officials said the state sent schools a memo that said they are aware of slow connectivity problems and they are working to fix the issue. The state also said no answers were lost because of the connectivity issues.