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Teacher says ISTEP testing conditions far from ideal

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--The state says ISTEP scores won't be negatively affected by glitches with the online test. but one South Bend teacher says the testing environment was far from ideal.

Fourth-grade teacher Amy Huan described ISTEP testing as a nightmare.

"You know kids react to stress in different ways, so for some they acted like no big deal. Yay we're not taking the test and other kids were worried about well when are we gonna do it, how much longer, are we gonna do it today?" said Amy Huan, fourth-grade teacher, Perley Fine Arts Academy.

She says students rotated in and out of the school's only computer lab, trying to test with an orchestra of construction noise outside.

"I mean the jackhammering was still going on, you know like I said we had an evacuation plan in effect in case they hit a gas main, I mean the school is literally vibrating," said Huan.

Perley Fine Arts wasn't the only school dealing with testing woes. One hundred and eighty thousand students across the state dealt with computer glitches. A state-funded study released Monday says the scores should still be valid, but many are worried because those numbers are like a teachers first impression of the student.

"What if you're a fourth grader going onto fifth grade to teachers who don't know you? That's what they have to look at are your ISTEP scores," said Huan.

And it's not just students future's at stake, but teachers as well. Bad scores equal stagnant salary.
 

"Because of the legislation in the state of Indiana, we can't just give teachers step increases because of their experience," said Dr. Carole Schmidt, superintendent, South Bend School Corporation. "It has to be connected: a portion of their increase has to be connected to student achievement."

Schools are rated A through F. Huan's school, Perley Elementary is rated "F." but she says that's no reflection on her teaching.

"I could apply to go to an A school or a B school but I like where I am," said Huan. "So because I stay where I am does that mean I'm dooming myself to never getting a pay raise cause I like working with those kids? You know I feel like I'm making a difference in their life."

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