State lawmakers order ISTEP investigation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — State lawmakers want to know why computer problems interrupted the ISTEP exam and who is responsible. They ordered an investigation Thursday that will begin in mid-June with a day long hearing at the Statehouse. 

Both the test maker, CTB/McGraw Hill, and state education officials will be called on the carpet.

Computer problems first interrupted test taking for students in a variety of schools earlier this month and then forced school districts to reduce the number of students taking the test at one time by half. Lawmakers want CTB/McGraw Hill to explain.

"To come to Indianapolis and explain how the problems occurred," said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, "why they weren't prepared for those problems, what they're doing about it to assure these problems don't arise in the future."

The announcement was made in a meeting of the Legislative Council, a group made up of leaders from both Houses and both parties in the General Assembly. 

State Education officials will also be questioned, as will school superintendents. House Speaker Brian Bosma said, "We need to get to the bottom of it."

This was the first time that schools were encouraged to have students take the test online whenever possible and CTB/McGraw Hill is the main target of the probe. 

"And for a highly paid vendor to have this occur is totally unacceptable," said Sen. Long. "The schools have a right to be upset about it."

Lawmakers also hope to determine whether the test results are tainted by the interruptions that took place. The Fort Wayne schools have already decided that test results there won't be used unless they can be verified by a third party.

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