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FWCS begins paper ISTEP+ practice

It’s back to pencil and paper today for the youngest group of Fort Wayne Community Schools students required to take the ISTEP+ test.

After the district called it quits on the computer-based version of the test two weeks ago, third-grade students across the district will begin taking practice tests on paper today and sixth-grade students are expected to start practice tests Wednesday, school officials announced during Monday’s FWCS board meeting.

FWCS officials announced April 28 the district would forgo plans to test students online and instead await the arrival of paper tests.

Students took the first section of the test, which includes essays and open-ended questions, in March and were expected to begin the multiple-choice section in late April, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.

But as connectivity issues related to CTB/McGraw Hill’s servers began to crop up during student practice tests, district officials decided to suspend online testing.

The revised ISTEP+ testing window will open today and continue through May 27 in hopes of all students completing their exams before Memorial Day, FWCS officials said.

The testing window provides a time period for students in grades three to eight to complete the test but does not mean students in those grades will be tested every day, said Superintendent Wendy Robinson.

“Every school in the district will be tailoring that testing window to meet their needs,” she said.

Although testing bundles have arrived for third- and sixth-grade students, the district is still awaiting the arrival of testing materials for all students, Robinson said.

The State Board of Education will also need to approve the district’s extended testing window.

The board will discuss testing window extensions Tuesday during a special meeting, according to the Indiana State Board of Education’s website.