Don't be surprised if your son or daughter drops from "exceeds standards" to "meets standards" or from "meets" to "below" standards in the upcoming Illinois Standard Achievement Tests.
Glen Ellyn District 41 Superintendent Ann Riebock told the School Board at its most recent meeting about the new "cut line" in the ISAT scores that measure students' achievements—as well as the achievements of their schools.
District officials sent out an e-mail to the school community Friday advising of the changes and the impact on students scores. The district advised parents that the state forewarned school districts that scores will drop, and advised districts to share the information with their communities.
The new cut scores will help align the ISAT results with those of the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) —colloquially called the ACT test—given to 11th graders, and establish a foundation for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam set to debut in the 2014-15 school year.
It's all part of the Common Core curriculum, which will include a computer-based assessment that will yield more timely results and will be given more than once during the school year.
District 41 is already implementing the Common Core curriculum for math and literacy, the district said. The new science standards will are expected to be ready in May and the district will adust curriculum in that area as well.
"These higher expectations will result in a significant reduction in the number of students who meet and exceed standards," said Illinois Superintendent of Schools Chris Koch in a statement. "Parents, board members, teachers and community members will likely be concerned to learn that students who previously were meeting standards are now characterized as needing improvement. It is important that we are able to explain that this is a result of changing standards and not a reflection of decreased performance by our students and teachers."
The new expectations for students do not mean that students know less than they did before or are less capable than they were in previous years, District 41 said in its communication. What it is saying is current standards are too low and it is expecting more of students moving forward will show progress toward college and career-readiness benchmarks.
“Raising expectations is never easy, and the anticipated drop in students’ scores will be significant,” Koch said in an Illinois State Board of Education press release. “However, we must seize this opportunity to tap into our children’s full potential and better prepare them at an earlier 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.”