Parents and schools have been waiting months to see how students did on a new and longer ISTEP test taken this year, and those scores are finally available.
For now, the scores are available to only parents, who can see how their children did, and to schools as preliminary results.
But if parents disagree with their child’s score, they have until the end of this week to ask the state to re-evaluate the preliminary numbers, which will start a process of rescoring the exam, where testing officials will review essay questions and open-ended responses.
Parents can request the re-score online, by choosing an option while they are looking at their child’s scores.
Once that process is finished and the scores are finalized, they will be released, allowing the public to see how local students fared on the new ISTEP exam. Students in third through eighth grade took two sets of exams during the 2014-2015 school year. This was the first year for a new set of exams, where children answered part of the test digitally, and the testing included more critical thinking questions. The exams also required more hours for practice testing, and the length of ISTEP was more than 10 hours, compared with five to six hours in the past.
Because of all the changes to the exam, school officials have said they aren’t sure what to expect with the scores, but they would not be surprised if they went down.
Typically, scores are released during the summer so schools can see where students need to improve in English, math or science courses and can implement new methods or emphasize certain lessons in the next school year. But this year, the Indiana Department of Education said the scores were delayed because of issues with the new technology-based portions of the exam.
Preliminary scores were released to schools last week, allowing them to look at the raw data of their students’ performances. And parents first got access to their child’s re- sults Monday.
Now, parents have until Friday to decide if they want their child’s results to be rescored. If parents think their child’s score is lower than expected, they can ask testing officials to look over portions of the exam again, according to Indiana Department of Education spokeswoman Samantha Hart.
For example, open-ended portions of the ISTEP exam, such as essay questions, can be given a second look and possibly scored higher, she said. Sections with multiple-choice questions cannot be considered for rescoring, she said.
If parents make the request to the Indiana Department of Education by the end of Friday, that process will be started. The rescoring usually takes about two weeks, and parents can expect to get results by mid-December, when the final scores are expected to be released, Hart said.
Final scores are expected to be different from the preliminary scores, Hart said. Testing company CTB/McGraw-Hill and officials with the Indiana Department of Education are studying every score to make sure they’re accurate, she said.
Since the scores are expected to change, school districts may not have enough information to know how students did, compared with projections, Hart said. State officials told school districts to expect their scores to drop this year, due to all of the changes with this year’s exam.
School officials will need more than a week to sort through the raw data they got this week, said Center Grove director of teaching and learning Jack Parker. No scores were put into a simple overview or summary for each school or grade level, he said.
How did your child do on the ISTEP exam?
Parents: Check your student’s score online by going to https://indiana.ctb.com/
Want a score to be re-checked? Next to the scores on the website, parents can select a button near the sections that can be re-scored.
How did your child’s school do?
The Indiana Department of Education expects to release the final scores in mid-December.