Changes to a state test this year means Illinois school kids will probably get lower marks.
The Illinois Standards Achievement Test or ISAT is given to school children from third through eighth grades. In recent years, about 80 percent met or exceeded state benchmarks in reading and math. But when students take the test this spring, they will need to bring their A game….
KOCH ‘We have raised the cut score and that means fewer students will be proficient.”
State Superintendent Christopher Koch says this is the start of bigger changes.
Illinois will replace the familiar ISAT test soon as it moves more toward new learning standards.
KOCH “Our previous standards were very broad and narrow and the new standards require not just knowledge base, but the application of knowledge. So it takes it a step further in what kids have to demonstrate as to whether or not they understand something.”
But many school leaders are upset over changing the ISAT for a couple of years, rather than waiting for a new test to be developed. Tom Bertrand is Superintendent of the Rochester School District. He says it sets up kids to fail.
BERTRAND “It doesn’t sit well with many of us out in the field who work with the teachers and the kids everyday in the classrooms when we know right now what the state board is telling us is that a huge percentage of students are going to fail to meet the benchmarks for next year already. We’re left to explain it to the 9 year old in the classroom who made adequate yearly progress last year who can’t make it this year, no matter how hard they try.”
Bertrand wanted the ISAT tests scrapped until new exams are ready in a couple of years. Bertrand calls it part of a larger disconnect involving the state and rules it imposes on districts.
Hear our full interview with Superintendent Bertrand:
And with State Superintendent Koch: