By Brittany Ludwig
SPRINGFIELD, IL (KSDK) - The Illinois State Board of Education is considering raising expectations for students taking the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).
The elementary and middle school children who take the ISAT will have to reach higher performance levels in English Language Arts and Math beginning in 2014-15. New standards in the science assessment will be finalized later in 2013.
The ISATs are part of a state and federal system that assess students in math, reading and science each spring, but are not a strong indicator of college and career readiness. The reason for raising the ISAT cut scores is to prevent the disconnect they see between students taking the ISAT and the Prairie State Achievement Exam given to all 11th graders.
The new expectations will cause a downward shift in the number of students who meet or exceed standards. According to the 2012 ISAT results, 86 percent of students in grades 3-8 scored proficient in mathematics and 79 percent in reading. Using the new performance levels, that number would drop down to 60 percent of students who meet and exceed standards for both reading and math. The drop would be a result of raising expectations and not a reflection of student or teacher performance, according to the state education board.
It would also be a good indicator of students' progress toward success after high school graduation. The new cut scores will be used to replace the ISAT with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).The PARCC will align with the Common Core State Standards and will include a computer based assessment that will give timely results and will be given more than once during the school year.
To learn more about the standards visit the Illinois State Board of Education's website.