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Parents frustrated about I-STEP take to Twitter

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A change in I-STEP means students could end up spending twice as long or more on this year’s test.

Some parents and educators are calling it I-STEP abuse. In fact, the firestorm has grown so much, there’s even a hashtag on Twitter.

According to the State Board of Education, the tests are longer across the board from third through eighth-grade. Third graders may suffer the most, spending an estimated 12.5 hours on the test. That’s 7 hours and 21 minutes longer than last year.

Teachers worry what the impact will be on students.

“You know at some point they’re going to experience test fatigue and it’s not going to be something that they’re going to take seriously,” said Teresa Meredith, President of the Indiana State Teachers’ Association. “I think we’re just about there with some of our middle school students especially.”

The Board points the finger at the Indiana Department of Education, saying it did not do a pilot test last May or September as it originally planned and told the Board it would do.

Because of that, the whole test is now a pilot.

They say that translates into more questions, some which will be scored and others that won’t.

The Department of Education blames federal No Child Left behind requirements. A spokesperson says the Department planned to pilot-test new questions, but were then told the federal education mandates needed to be adopted right away, rather than piloting them for a year.

The Department of Education says test times should return to normal next year. But for this year, it means more class time devoted to the test.

“There’s so much we want to teach and so much we want our students to experience, and learn, and when we spend the kind of time prepping for tests and testing, you don’t get the time, you don’t get that time back to actually do instruction with students,” said Meredith.

Despite the outcry on social media, education officials say this will be the format of the exam when they are administered in March.