ISTEP+ Cut Score Continues to Concern Local Educators

Local educators continue to be concerned with ISTEP+ scores for this year as the State Board of Education says there were differences between the online and paper versions of last school year’s test.

In a news release, SBOE vice chair Sarah O’Brien said a review of last year’s test was done by CTB McGraw-Hill and their report was subsequently reviewed by a team of independent experts. O’Brien says the independent experts found small but significant differences in test difficulty. She also says the SBOE will be able to move forward with issuing a single cut score for the 2014-2015 test with the addition of a few bonus points for students that took the test online.

Locally, the ISTEP+ exam was a big discussion topic at last night’s Greater Jasper School Board meeting. Curriculum director Kim Strobel told the board that district scores could be down anywhere between 15 and 20 points in various test categories this year. Strobel also stated the test results would not come for several more months.

Earlier this year, Greater Jasper superintendent Dr. Tracey Lorey stated that issues with the ISTEP would be a big deal considering how the test affects teacher and school evaluations. Lorey stated that needs to be changed:

Concerns have also been expressed in other area schools.

Now the State Board of Education had been set to vote on the cut scores at their regular meeting earlier this month. However, O’Brien says that vote was delayed because the CTB discrepancy report was not made available to them until the night before the October 14th meeting.

Meanwhile, Glenda Ritz’s office has argued that the board still had enough information to vote on pass/fail scores and suggested the delay was a Pence administration effort to score political points against Ritz.

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