Rescoring students' exams may hurt teachers

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Half a million students took Indiana's new standardized exam this year, and educators are worried that the scores could create problems for schools and teachers who will be also graded based on their students' results.

Schools and parents can request a rescore of the grade 3-8 students' ILEARN exam results, but state law requires them to accept the final result. So if a rescore grades the student lower than the original results, that's what they are stuck with, The Indianapolis Star reported.

To compound the issue, they have until July 31 to request a rescore of hand-graded portions — the bulk of the exam is multiple choice and that cannot be rescored — but final test results won't be delivered until Aug. 15.

"You're really rolling the dice by requesting a rescore in some situations," said Andrea Korreck, principal at Northwood Elementary School in Franklin.

Some educators say the schools and teachers themselves have the most at stake when it comes to the end-of-year exams.

School letter grades, assigned by the state, are based largely on those results and are the basis for possible state intervention for low-scoring schools.

Teachers are not involved in the rescore process. But student performance on these tests is tied to teacher evaluations, where teachers are rated as highly effective, effective, improvement necessary or ineffective. Ratings can impact teacher pay, bonuses and hiring.

"It's just kind of an unknown and yet so much rides on our scores and on our letter grades," Korreck said.

ILEARN was administered for the first time this year, replacing the state's much-maligned ISTEP exam.

State Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker said the department will determine levels of proficiency, or "cut scores," after this year's scores are in, which will set the pass/fail line.

Baker said information on how many people traditionally request rescores wasn't available because the department no longer contracts with the previous test vendor, Pearson.

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