State testing trends show overall improvement

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released statewide test results today that show Illinois elementary school students continue to make progress, while scores for high school students on state tests remain unchanged. ISBE released the state averages for the 2010 tests, which were given to students in grades 3-8 and 11 this past spring. The overall average for all state tests increased slightly from 75.5 in 2009 to 76.4 in 2010.

“Overall we’re seeing students and schools make progress in Illinois and that is a positive sign, but we know there is a disconnect between elementary and high school,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We believe that our Board’s adoption of new Illinois Learning Standards and the development of new assessments to match those new, higher standards will provide better cohesion between elementary and high school. We’re setting the bar higher for everyone with the new standards, focusing on a college and career readiness pathway that begins when students first start school.’’

The most recent tests were given in March and April. Students in grades 3-8 took the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in reading and mathematics while students in grades 4 and 7 were tested in science. Students in grade 11 take the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE), which tests students in math, reading and science.

Overall student performance on the ISAT increased from 79.8 in 2009 to 80.9 while the average percentage of students meeting and exceeding on the PSAE stayed unchanged this year from last at 53. Students with disabilities whose participation in ISAT or the PSAE would not be appropriate take the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA). The state average on the IAA increased from 66.5 to 68.6 in 2010.

In addition to the Board’s adoption of new Illinois Learning Standard in math and English, Illinois is a governing member of the 26 state Partnership for Assessment for College and Careers (PARCC) that will develop a new generation of tests aligned to the new standards to measure students’ knowledge and skills. While Illinois schools are now beginning to align to the new Illinois Learning Standards, which are higher and clearer than previous ones, new state tests will not be available until the 2014-15 school year.