Press release from the Indiana Department of Education:
IDOE encourages schools to move to ISTEP+ Online
(November 9, 2010) – Following action taken by the Indiana State Board of Education in August, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is evaluating schools’ readiness to move to administering the multiple-choice portion of the ISTEP+ assessment electronically by requiring schools administer the online to at least one grade level in each school building enrolling students in grades 3-8 in spring 2011. Some schools across the state have already begun to utilize technology allowing students to take the test online; however, with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), there is a need to move 100 percent of schools to online testing in anticipation of a Common Core assessment currently under development by two national assessment consortia.
“As technology becomes an even larger part of our students’ daily lives, it makes sense to deliver testing in an online format,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said. “Currently, only five percent of Indiana’s students are assessed online. Steadily increasing that number will help us complete the transition to online assessment which will ultimately benefit our students and our schools.”
While it is recommended that schools test their highest grade online, they may seek approval to substitute another grade level, and local administrators have the option to administer the online test to additional grades. Schools that assessed students online in spring 2009 and 2010 are expected to at least maintain that same level of testing for spring 2011.
“Schools need to begin planning and building capacity for teaching the technology standards by using technology regularly for both instruction and assessment,” Bennett said. “The Common Core assessment, which we anticipate implementing in 2014-15, is being built on an online-only platform. Therefore, we need to make sure Indiana’s students are equipped with the appropriate technology skills and have the online testing experience to be successful.”
Besides the need to switch to online assessment in response to the CCSS, assessing students online is beneficial for test coordinators as it saves time in printing, scoring and processing paper materials. Only the multiple-choice portion is offered online; all students will take the applied skills portion of the test on paper. For students with an Individualized Education Program, several accommodations are available as part of the online assessment system.
Every school and corporation will receive a site readiness report prior to any requirement for online testing during the 2011 ISTEP+ administration. Following the 2011 test administration, IDOE will review the current “lab” capacity to determine which schools have the resources to add additional grades for future administrations of the ISTEP+ online. The process will also document any barriers to preparation of Indiana schools for full implementation of online testing.