Glitch halts online ISTEP testing for Ind. schools

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — School districts across Indiana suspended the first day of ISTEP+ online testing Monday because of computer issues that kicked many students off the exam.

Testing was halted in districts including Indianapolis, Carmel, West Lafayette and Brownsburg. Schools in Shelby and Tippecanoe counties also reported problems.

Indiana Department of Education officials said 27,000 students were affected. The testing contractor, CTB McGraw-Hill LLC of Carol Stream, Ill., said it was working to resolve the problem.

School officials reported that computer screens froze for up to five minutes at a time and that students were forced to log back into their computers repeatedly. The Indianapolis Star reported that some students were able to complete the test but that it took twice as long as planned.

"In order for my students to do well, they need the opportunity to take this 'high stakes test' without interruptions," West Lafayette Schools Superintendent Rocky Killion told the Journal & Courier. "This morning my students were already over an hour behind the testing schedule because of having to shut off the computers, turn them back on and then logging back in."

The glitch forced many districts to rearrange testing schedules, which frustrated Tippecanoe School Corp. Superintendent Scott Hanback. He said larger districts had spent a lot of time ensuring students could take the test by the May 10 deadline on a limited number of computers.

"We've gone to a lot of work to make sure computer and bandwidth capacity on our end were set up and ready to go," Hanback said. "It's no small task."

The ISTEP+ exam is taken by students in third through eighth grades.

CTB McGraw-Hill has a four-year contract with the state worth $95 million to administer the test.

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