Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

July 2, 2013

OUR VIEW: ISTEP test needs less weight

The Indiana Department of Education wants $614,000 in damages from CTB/McGraw-Hill, after server failures disrupted the online administration of ISTEP tests across the state.

“Overwhelmed” servers kicked off students in Oklahoma and Indiana over a two-day period in April, McGraw-Hill executives told state legislators. Company president Ellen Haley said her technicians couldn’t anticipate the demand on equipment.

Many lawmakers and educators are reacting to the ISTEP failures with indignation. But some self-reflection is warranted.

If students weren’t taking the test all at once, McGraw-Hill servers wouldn’t have crashed. Yet students were taking the test all at once because of past cheating scandals.

In 2011, the number of investigations into ISTEP testing irregularities increased to 19, according to The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne. Among those irregularities was the ISTEP test’s biggest breach ever, when an eighth-grade essay question was posted on Facebook. More than 80,000 students around the state had their results on that item tossed out in a case that involved teachers in three districts.

In other cases, teachers were accused of using live test items to practice with students, of creating practice problems that matched test questions, of teaching lessons specifically geared to those questions and of telling students to change their answers.

An analysis of the 2011 tests showed almost 4 percent of the state’s schools were flagged for having at least one classroom with an excessive number of answers that had been changed from wrong to right. In all, about 90 of the state’s 2,400 schools were sent notices about suspicious test results.

Clearly, the pressure for students to do well on the test has gotten to some teachers. After all, the test scores can now influence not only a school’s reputation but a teacher’s paycheck, a school district’s graduation rate and its overall state funding. Consistently bad scores can even lead the state to step in and take over a struggling school.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • FREY: An ode to service days gone by There were many times in the past year that I walked by the small glass corner curio cabinet.I often glanced at the photographs from the corners of my eyes as I made my way past the nurse’s station and out the pass-coded locked doors.It is one of man

    August 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Looking out for youth and e-cigarettes Technology, it seems, finds solutions for just about everything. So it should surprise no one that the tobacco industry, under siege for years for marketing and selling unhealthy products, found a way around the anti-smoking fervor through a smoke-le

    August 22, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: A matter of bad habits Mary Ellen and I have been happy together for so long that we sometimes forget how much we annoy each other, so on the trip back home from our recent vacation, it was time catch up on our bad habits.For example, I told Mary Ellen that she is a relent

    August 22, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Life is not all choices There is a post on Facebook that says, “Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible

    August 21, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Reining in unlimited farm subsidies Reining in unlimitedfarm subsidiesIn January, President Obama declared that despite Congressional logjams, “America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for Ame

    August 21, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Why government openness matters One of the fundamental lessons of the 9/11 tragedy was that our government carried a share of blame for the failure to stop the attacks. Not because it was asleep at the switch or ignorant of the dangers that Al Qaeda posed, but because the agencies

    August 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Continue work of modernizing courts Indiana’s new chief justice, Loretta Rush, has a lot on her plate. She not only has to preside over the Indiana Supreme Court, but also to modernize the state’s other courts as well.Indiana is well on its way toward bringing courts into the 21st cent

    August 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Mo-ped law long overdue We’ve all seen them on the streets, and their popularity is only growing. Mo-peds have coasted in a legal grey area for years in Indiana.A lack of registration, testing and licensure allowed those without other means of transport to join other vehicl

    August 20, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Quality of life and leaders both matter It was with some astonishment and much disappointment I read in the Aug. 5 edition of the Pharos-Tribune that one of our local city councilmen was quoted as saying that previous efforts in Logansport to use Tax Increment Financing money for quality o

    August 20, 2014

  • RAMPELL: Here comes Entrepreneur Barbie WASHINGTON — Lego’s groundbreaking female-scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.Yes, that swan-necke

    August 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.