Warning: ISTEP Rant Ahead

UnknownDear Indiana Department of Education,

I received the letter that you sent last week with my two sons’ ISTEP access 16 digit codes. When I opened the letter, I had totally forgotten that we had never received the results. To be honest, I couldn’t even remember when they took these tests. I do remember that their teachers obsessed about it for months prior. I remember it lasted over a week and that my kids complained about them each day for being a waste of their time. I remembered that I fed them special breakfasts each morning and ensured they got plenty of sleep each night. I felt the stress that week, so I can only imagine their stress and their teachers’ stress, whose salaries depended on my well-fed, well-rested tweens.

 I figured I would check my kids’ scores—because that’s what “good” parents do, but the reality is that I don’t really care what scores they received. I know they do their homework each night and study for tests. I know they pay attention in class and meet teacher expectations. What happens after that is no longer within my sphere of influence or theirs for that matter.

 So rather than logging in, I stuck the letter in a pile for later. It stayed buried until I got a letter from my kids’ school counselor which included the information below:

…it is also important to note the information listed on how to request a rescore of any open-ended items, as you will go online to the Indiana Parent Network and follow the instructions listed there. However, the window for rescore requests closes tomorrow.  If you saw a significant drop in your child’s score or if they just missed the cut score for a Pass or Pass+, you can ask for a rescore on open-ended questions.

After a six-month delay in releasing scores, many schools across the state are reporting that their students’ scores are lower than previous years for various testing issues.  The State Department of Education has had many discussions with lawmakers about this issue and they will be adjusting scores to compensate for the issues that the test had in its delivery and content. If you are not familiar with the issues that the Spring ISTEP+ test had, I would encourage you to do a Google search for “Indiana ISTEP+ test issues or problems”.  It is important to note that FINAL test results for each student will be available Dec. 22, again through the Parent Network.  We will communicate with you about that release date as it approaches.


WHAT?!?!? If I don’t like the score, then I can ask for a rescore? Many scores are so low that they are rescoring to make the scores better? Seriously?

Curious about these tests’ “problems,” I tried logging on to see if my boys’ scores were different than they usually were. Of course I didn’t remember my username or password, so I requested to have them sent to me. Three times I hit “submit” to get my username sent. Nothing. Checked my e-mail trash. Nothing.

So that’s all of my time and my family’s time that you get DOE. My boys gave you a week, or maybe it was two weeks. I gave you at least five bedtime negotiations and five early morning  plates of scrambled eggs and bacon. I have now shredded their test access codes, which probably would have taken me three times to input anyway, and given up.

No, I don’t need a rescore because the numbers on the paper don’t label either of my kids anyway. They will never find their identity in a score on a test…especially a test that has so many issues. MUST we do this all again in a few months?

I know you mean well, but I’ve tapped out for this year.

Marianne Miller

Mom of four sons who have no clue if they are Pass or Pass Plus kids





  1. Well said. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. My son didn’t do well on a spelling test with different “o” rules (long “o” short “o”) and his teacher offered to let him retake it. The practice was sound – the intentions were thoughtful… but I’m not worried about it. My son read an entire book to me this weekend (for the first time ever). We got “o”!

    Shall I write a rant about the subjectivity of gradebooks?

  3. Jenny Mosier says:

    My 3rd grade daughter has a wide variety of learning issues. Her annual case conference to review her IEP was last week. I requested it be listed in the notes that the parents request all her educators be cognizant of not giving her test anxiety. I then told the resource teacher & principal that I tell my kids that ISTEP is to show the teachers what they need to teach. I also told them I have not & will not check my kids’ IEP scores because it doesn’t matter.

    Did I mention I work at that school? But sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. My child is far more than some silly test scores graded by individuals hired from Craigslist ads.

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