State Board of Education considering raising ISAT levels - – Rockford’s News Leader

UPDATED: State Board of Education raises ISAT levels

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The Illinois State Board of Education has voted to raise the performance levels of the ISAT.

"The Board today took a significant step in changing how we measure a student's progress," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "The lower expectations of the previous performance levels did our students a disservice by not adequately assessing their ability to succeed after high school. The new, higher expectations will provide more accurate information about a child's development and allow us to provide the appropriate supports and interventions earlier in a student's academic career to ensure he or she is on track to enter college or career-training programs."

This spring's ISAT exams will be analyzed using the new, higher levels. Read below for more on what that entails.


The levels on which students' Illinois Standards Achievement Tests are judged, could soon be raised.

The Illinois State Board of Education will consider raising the ISAT's performance levels for elementary and middle school students during its meeting on Thursday. The new levels will go along with the Common Core State Standards that were adopted by the state in 2010.

The ISATs are used to assess students in math, reading, and science, but have not proven to be reliable indicators of college and career readiness. An increase in performance levels would be one way to combat that, but will also cause a drop in scores.

"Raising expectations is never easy, and the anticipated drop in students' scores will be significant," State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch said. "However, we must seize this opportunity to tap into our children's full potential and better prepare them at an early age to compete for jobs in a global economy. I am confident that our students will rise to the challenge and show continued progress under the new performance levels."

According to 2012 scores, 79 percent of all students in grades three through eight were proficient in reading and 86 percent were proficient in math. However, with the new performance levels, those scores drop to 60 percent for both reading and math.

The higher performance levels will better prepare the state to replace the exam with assessments from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. That exam will debut in the 2014 - 2015 school year and will be given several times throughout the year, not just once.

If the new levels are approved by the board, they will go into effect this spring for reading and math. However, the levels for science will remain the same until later this year, when new science standards are finalized.

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