Illinois raising the bar for scoring achievement tests

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Some students will see their achievement levels drop now that Illinois has raised the bar for achievement exams given to third through eighth graders.

The next round of the Illinois Student Achievement Exam happens this spring.  New state standards for interpreting the scores means some students could see achievement levels drop. 

Students will see the benchmark scores needed to be considered proficient in reading raised 13 to 17 points.  Scores for the proficient benchmark in math will be raised 21 to 30 points.

State education officials say the higher benchmarks will make Illinois students stay on track for college and career readiness.  The new scoring standards will reportedly help educators know sooner whether or not kids are on track for college or careers.    

“These new expectations do not mean that our students know less than they did before or are less capable than they were in previous years,” said a statement on the Illinois Board of Education website.  “Instead, ISBE is raising the bar on how well students are prepared to meet college and career readiness benchmarks.”

The changes are for the ISAT given to third through eighth grade students.  State education officials say scoring for the PSAE administered to high school students would not be changed because that test already provides a good indicator of college and career readiness.