Another hitch delays ISAT results

Idaho school districts are still waiting on some results from this spring’s standardized tests, the online assessment commonly known as the SBAC.

And some parents might not receive test results until September.

A series of glitches have delayed results from the new Idaho Standards Achievement Test, as Idaho Education News first reported last week. At the time, the State Department of Education said schools should receive final, complete results by Friday.

That didn’t happen, because fifth- through eighth-grade math results are on hold. About half of these results are in, State Department of Education spokesman Jeff Church said Monday, and the rest of the exams should be graded in the next couple of days.

But these tests are being graded by hand, and sometimes, more than one teacher is assigned to grade a test — and weren’t enough qualified teachers hired for grading.

It was up to Measurement Inc., a test vendor, to screen applicants and hire teachers qualified to grade the tests. Some 300 Idaho teachers were hired to grade the fifth- through eighth-grade math tests, Church said. Teachers do not necessarily test students from their state, and Idaho tests may be graded by teachers from other states in the Smarter Balanced consortium.

The math test delays are the latest glitch in the ISAT by Smarter Balanced, a new statewide assessment aligned to the Idaho Core Standards. The test was administered from March 30 through May 22 to third- through eighth-graders and 10th-graders. Schools field-tested the assessment last spring, but this is the first time the assessment is being used to measure student growth and school achievement.

The delays in the test results have frustrated some local officials, who are trying to figure out how and when to distribute the test scores. One reason for the sense of urgency: Student scores typically drop when a new test is used, so school officials want to help parents interpret the ISAT by Smarter Balanced scores.

Schools now have 262,240 results in hand — including all English language arts scores and complete math scores for third-, fourth- and 10th grade.

Schools can now release these individual student scores. Still, more delays may be on the horizon.

Schools are supposed to release scores within three weeks of receiving them, but it’s not clear when the clock starts ticking. The clock might start when the schools have complete scores for all their students. Or it might start after the test appeals period closes. Schools cannot appeal student test results, but they can file to reopen a test period, allowing makeups for students who had a medical emergency during the test period.

If schools wait until the end of the appeals process, they won’t release scores before August or September, Church said.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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