Tens of thousands of Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP) tests may have to be discarded after an exam question was posted on Facebook.
What happened? The Indiana Department of Education (DoE) believes a test coordinator copied an essay question from the eighth-grade language arts exam and shared it with others. It briefly was posted on a Facebook page connected with a state teacher’s group.
The test was administered to 80,000 eighth-graders in the state.
Details: The question asked students’ opinion on school vouchers that use taxpayer money to help parents send their children to private schools.
Pending state legislation supported by Republicans would give parents “special scholarships” using public funds for their children to attend private school. Some have said the exposure was meant to sway public opinion and promote the voucher plan. The state DoE and superintendent have denied such claims.
The DoE is considering whether to suppress the question or invalidate the affected portion of the test. The investigation and response could cost the state several hundred thousand dollars.
Quote: “It has the potential to cost taxpayers a great deal of money,” said Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.
What was the response? The Indiana DoE has launched a statewide investigation. Any teachers involved could lose their licenses.
Source: 6News, TheIndyChannel.com, “Security Breach Compromises ISTEP Exam,” March 7, 2011.