I-STEP changes cause concern among LSC staff

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The testing window for the first portion of I-STEP ended Friday.

At Sunnyside Intermediate School, choosing to take the exam completely online led to a little bit of confusion for students.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking when you get into the test,” Sunnyside sixth-grader Alondra Munoz said. “You need to know that you have to stay calm.”

Munoz is no stranger to I-STEP. Despite her words of wisdom, a decision to take the entire test online led to some anxiety among students.

“Teaching them how to type in math problems, and things like that, was something that we just didn’t prepare for because you just didn’t have an idea of what it was going to be like until you open that test the first time,” explained fifth-grade teacher Jason Vandewalle.

It was the math portion that caused headaches for some students. Even though there was a practice test a week before, students began testing Wednesday. Vandewalle said inputting answers on their iPads was no easy task.

“Not understanding how to type in a fraction or an equation,” he said. “We just don’t do that very often. A lot of our stuff is done on paper, so it’s just a different skill that we really haven’t been taught.”

While instructors are allowed to give direction, Vandewalle is concerned not all students spoke up.

“Many of the students asked me,” he said. “But you worry about the students that were unsure, or didn’t ask or were afraid to ask.”

Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle said it’s something they are prepared for when they get results back.

“Any time there is something that makes it more difficult, then you have to go with the assumption of some of the data may not be accurate,” Huddle said.

Vandewalle said he’s just focusing on making sure students are adapting.

“The world we live in is computerized now, and so preparing these students to operate in this world is important,” he said.

Students like Munoz are just glad it’s over.

“The best part is when I see I’m finished and done, and I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” said Munoz.

Officials from the West Lafayette Community School Corporation and the Tippecanoe School Corporation did not report any problems with the first round of testing.

The second portion of I-STEP beings April 17.