ISTEP scores become public, but only to parents

A computer portal that allows parents to check their children’s ISTEP+ scores has opened, but school-by-school testing results remain embargoed and will not be released until September.

The portal opened Tuesday to allow parents to check the scores through access provided by Pearson School Assessments, the Indiana Department of Education announced.

Samantha Hart, department spokeswoman, said school corporations statewide were notified the portal was open and each school corporation has received preliminary data from the department on their individual schools.

The data remains preliminary because parents have the opportunity to ask for a rescore on any of the “open-ended” questions that a student didn’t receive full credit for the answer during ISTEP+ testing, Hart said.

After checking the scores on the portal, parents may request a re-score on those items, but must do so before Aug. 12, Hart said.

After that date, the preliminary data will be finalized and prepared for public distribution in September, she said.

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Superintendent Jim Roberts, the former Batesville school chief who began his new job July 1, said the school corporation is in the process of notifying parents the ISTEP+ portal is open and inviting parents to check the scores.

Information about how to access the portal has been sent out in letter form to parents, Hart said.

Roberts requested that parents wait until the week of July 25 to contact their elementary school if they have questions about accessing the portal or their students scores. Staff members will be back that week and available to answer questions as they prepare for the start of school, which will be Aug. 2 for teachers and Aug. 3 for students.

A new wrinkle in the rules this year allows schools to request a rescore on behalf of the parents, but the school must document that the parent has formally made that request with the school, Hart said.

A new Indiana law abolishes ISTEP after 2017 and a panel of educators and community leaders, legislators and state education officials are studying what new testing model will be used and have met twice so far. The group has until Dec. 1 to make recommendations on a testing program to state officials.

Roberts was contacted by Gov. Mike Pence’s office and asked to participate on the panel. In an earlier interview, Roberts said he would like to see the state adopt an exam that is more efficient, both in the time it takes students to complete and in the time it takes for schools to get their results.

He said he would like the exam to be administered earlier in the year to establish a baseline of where students are when they begin a school year. The test could then be re-administered multiple times throughout the year to measure student growth, he said.

When to request ISTEP re-score

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. has requested that parents wait until the week of July 25 with questions about ISTEP+ results or requests for help with re-score requests. School officials will be returning to buildings that week and available to answer questions. The deadline to request a re-score on the open-ended question results is Aug. 12.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.