ISTEP score check totals double

More than 30,000 children statewide are having portions of their ISTEP tests reviewed by the state after their parents said they wanted officials to take another look at their child’s answers.

For the first time, parents were responsible for asking to have portions of their child’s ISTEP tests reviewed if they believed the score was lower than it should be. In the past, parents needed to call their child’s school and ask for a section to be reviewed, then the school would pass on the request on the parent’s behalf.

And parents took advantage of the change. The number of children whose tests will be rescored doubled from last year.

Any student who did not get a perfect score on the open-ended sections of the exam — including essay questions — could have the scores looked over again. Preliminary scores were released this month, and parents had a week to ask for the state to take another look.

Parents won’t know if that made a difference in their child’s score until Dec. 22 when the results will be released. Schools will find out the scores Dec. 8.

Between now and then, state officials will look at every section to be rescored and grade it again by hand. The state will accept the better of the two scores, said Indiana Department of Education spokeswoman Samantha Hart. State officials will be rescoring the tests through Dec. 1, Hart said.

The ISTEP exam was taken by about 500,000 children in Grades 3 through 8 this year, Hart said.

The state had to score about 6 million open-ended response sections of the test, since each student took more than one essay or open-answered portion of the ISTEP exam, Hart said. Of the 6 million open-ended portions of the exam, less than 4 percent of the tests were requested for rescoring, Hart said.

More than 6 percent of children, or about 30,000 students, who took the ISTEP exam this spring had portions of their ISTEP exam rescored, Hart said. Last year, around 3 percent of students had sections rescored, she said.

Since parents had direct access to ask for a review of their child’s test, that could be the main reason why more students’ exams will be rescored, Hart said.

“This streamlined the process for a lot of families,” Hart said.

Abby Armbruster is a staff writer for the Daily Journal, a sister publication of The Republic.

By the numbers

Here’s a look at rescoring of spring ISTEP exams in Indiana:

6 million: The number of open-ended answer portions on this year’s ISTEP exam

500,000: The number of children statewide who took the exam

30,000: The number of children who had portions of their exam rescored

234,000: The number of test sections that were re-scored (every student had more than one open-ended answer portion of the test)

Source: Indiana Department of Education