Indiana agency seeks $4 million over ISTEP scoring delays

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Department of Education wants $4 million in damages from the state’s former testing vendor over long delays in grading last year’s ISTEP standardized exam.

State schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz told the state Board of Education on Wednesday about the request to CTB/McGraw Hill. Student scores from the spring 2015 exam weren’t ready until early January, about five months later than the previous year.

The department sent a June letter requesting the damages, saying the delays caused a ripple effect in Indiana’s school and teacher rating systems and estimated damages topped $11 million.

The Indianapolis Star reports the state’s contract capped damages at $2.4 million, but an education department spokesman says it believes the higher request is appropriate.

McGraw Hill spokeswoman Catherine Mathis declined to comment.

Meantime, some members of a state panel charged with recommending a replacement for the ISTEP exam want to drop the use of test results in teacher pay evaluations.

The 23-member committee met Tuesday for its fourth session as it faces a December deadline for suggestions to be considered during next year’s legislative session.

Committee chairwoman Nicole Fama says the results of the new test could still be used to evaluate schools even if not factors in determining teacher pay.

Such changes would have to be approved by the state Legislature.

Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson said the state needs to decouple teacher pay from the student test or it will be simply trading ISTEP for a similar exam.

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