ISTEP with iPads: Problems and Frustration

For this week we are starting ISTEP round two. The first round of ISTEP went great. My students did well, were confident, and were able to take the test without any problems. This week we are starting round two of ISTEP that is usually held online, however, due to the lack of computers in my school (one computer lab) we have to have many grades use their iPads to take the tests.

At first I thought this would be great, students can use drag and drop for their math problems, and use many different kinds of tools that the iPads to give the kids to utilize, like a ruler, the ability to to highlight words, and use online manipulatives.

However, it would be nice if these tools were available to all students. During our practice tests we found that many students had difficulties staying online, problems with the iPad app TEST NAV loading forever and not working, as well as other small problems with tools not working, questions not showing up if the student changed the background color.


Other difficulties of the test were that in 4th grade we use a lot of fractions, but on the test the only way students could submit fractions were in mixed fraction form. Our students had not learned that skill yet because it is not a required skill for 4th grade in our school and district. So the day before the test we had to explain in 15 minutes how to create a mixed fractions from a normal fraction with a whole.

While there are many good things that could come from iPads, such as the manipulatives are great for students, and that ability to take the test with more visuals, the iPads still create many problems for students that are taking the test, taking away, and making students nervous when they are testing



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