Suburban superintendents to vent to state leader about new test
About 20 suburban high school superintendents are meeting Monday with State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith to vent their frustrations about poor performance results from the state's new standardized test and the timing of its release.
The new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, assessment debuted this spring. Statewide, third- through 10th-graders took the tests measuring different types of knowledge and skills in mathematics and English language arts/literacy.
Partial results from only the PARCC online tests show less than one-third of students statewide are meeting college-readiness standards, according to Illinois School Report Card data. Paper test results haven't yet been tallied.
District- and school-level scores haven't been made available but have been promised by December.
Suburban superintendents are asking the state to reconsider using these abysmal scores as a baseline year.
"It raises questions as to the validity and reliability (of the results)," said Lynne Panega, superintendent of Lake Park High School District 108.
The test itself is expected to change in spring 2016. It will be much shorter and there will be only one testing window, instead of two, which prompted Panega to question the validity of using this year's results as a baseline.
She said while educators were encouraged by the state consolidating the testing period, they are annoyed at being saddled with a new science assessment next spring.
High schools now are required to administer a 90-minute online test for 10th-graders measuring student performance on Next Generation Science Standards.
"We really traded out one test for another," Panega said.
Lack of information about whether the state plans to fund a viable college admissions exam, such as ACT or SAT, also is causing concerns.
"That's really putting us in a tenuous position," Panega said. "Many high schools have made the decision to use local dollars to fund ACT for juniors."