Number of students impacted by ISTEP grading problem grows to nearly 28,000

More high school students were affected by problems with grading this year’s ISTEP test than previously estimated, the Indiana Department of Education said Monday.

Because of an issue grading a graphing question on the 10th grade math test, 27,813 students will see their test scores increase, the state said. Last week, the state had estimated that 22,000 high school students were affected by the problem.

For about 400 students who had not initially received passing scores, the adjustment raised their scores enough to pass, a Pearson official said.

In addition, 115 students were affected by a technical problem with matching student data between exams at schools that gave paper tests in grades 3-8 and 10.

The error in the 10th grade math question stemmed from a decimal-rounding discrepancy. The matching issue was due to incorrectly entered or messily written student information on paper tests that prevented parts of the test from being matched up and graded correctly, a Pearson official had told Chalkbeat.

The testing company’s late-breaking problems with ISTEP scores delayed the release of school passing rates, which were expected to be made public last week.

The adjusted scores were provided to schools and districts Friday. Schools will be given at least 14 days to review scores before the Indiana State Board of Education meets to release the scores.

The state could ultimately pursue financial damages from Pearson for the issues the scoring problems caused this year, officials said at a board meeting last week. The grading problems are the latest in a series of technical issues Indiana has had with ISTEP in recent years. Repeated testing problems with CTB McGraw Hill, the prior vendor, were part of what led the state to contract with Pearson in 2016.