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ISTEP+ testing error invalidates Rochester student math scores, IDOE says

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As many as 700 students must retake an ISTEP+ math section or be left with an invalidated score following what the IDOE calls inaccurate guidance on the part of the test vendor.

Students in Rochester School Corporation elementary, middle and high schools were given calculators for what turned out to be a non-calculator section of the ISTEP+ math assessment, according to The Indiana Department of Education. The school corporation told IDOE some students did use a calculator while others were quickly stopped by teacher who noticed the issue.

This testing irregularity means invalidated scores for students not specifically provided an accommodation to use a calculator. According to an IDOE release, “Impacted students will receive an ‘undetermined’ on this portion of their assessment, noted as UND on result reports.”

IDOE says it’s working with school administrators to determine a course of action for students impacted by the error. Most significantly affected are high school sophomores, who will need to retake the non-calculator section during one of four offered sessions — twice in the school year and once each summer — before their planned graduations.

The school corporation may also see a negative impact from the error — in the form of a lowered accountability grade. IDOE says it’s still unclear the effect the invalidated scores could have, but that they will continue working with the school corporation to assist in next steps, up to and including an appeal from the school to the state board for any grade they believe does not accurately reflect the school’s performance.

The release further commended the Rochester School Corporation for their quick identification of the testing irregularity, helping IDOE to address the problem and hold the testing company, Pearson, responsible for the role it played in the calculator use error.

Parents can access their students’ scores beginning June 19. After reviewing those scores, parents with questions are encouraged to contact the Indiana Department of Education’s Office of Assessment at 317-232-9050 or 888-544-7837.

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