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FWCS wants ISTEP+ probe

Fort Wayne Community Schools board President Mark GiaQuinta is calling on legislators to commission an independent investigation into the reliability of the ISTEP+ standardized test.

The testing window for round two of the state test that began Monday has been plagued with problems. At the state’s urging most students are now taking the test online, but the vendor, CTB/McGraw Hill, has experienced problems all week with its server that have caused students to be interrupted while taking the test.

Testing for most schools was suspended until Wednesday. Since then, schools have been asked to reduce the number of devices or students on the network by half. The state Department of Education has extended the testing window for schools to complete the testing.

During a press conference Friday, district officials questioned the validity of the test results and called for the state and the vendor to be held accountable, just as schools are held accountable for their students’ test scores.

Student performance on the standardized tests is required by law to be used in the state’s A-F accountability grading system. If schools receive failing grades for too many consecutive years, the state could appoint an education management company to take over the school. The scores are also required to be incorporated into teacher evaluations and compensation.

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