What's new with Illinois' standardized test for elementary, middle school students
Illinois students taking the state's new standardized test this spring can expect to find the questions and format similar to the previous exam's.
What's different is how the test will be administered and how soon results will be tallied and made available to teachers and parents.
The Illinois Assessment of Readiness measures mastery of Illinois Learning Standards in English language arts and mathematics among students in third through eighth grades. It also assesses student readiness for what comes next.
The differences from the previous Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test will be subtle.
Here's what students, families and schools need to know:
• The test measures the same standards and includes the same content and test questions used the last four years, to ensure results are comparable from year to year and accurately measure growth.
The assessment might be slightly shorter this year to field-test new questions needed for transitioning to a computer adaptive test.
• All students in third through eighth grades in Illinois public schools or receiving a tax credit scholarship to attend private schools must take the test.
• Online assessment tentatively begins March 11. For the less than 10 percent of schools statewide using paper exams, the assessment window opens March 25, due to the logistics of printing and shipping paper tests. Schools using paper exams will receive test materials by March 18. The assessment window closes April 26.
• Changes to test administration coming in the next few years include the option of bringing all accountability assessments onto a single administration and management platform, and quicker results to make the assessment more useful for teachers.
• By 2020, state officials expect a fully online test statewide for all grades and to have results for teachers and families much faster than the current Oct. 31 date.
• By 2021, the exam will transition to computer-adaptive testing that tailors questions to match students' knowledge and abilities. It also will incorporate questions developed by Illinois educators.
• By 2022, Illinois is expected to develop a true native language mathematics assessment.
• The Illinois State Board of Education has two separate contracts for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness for content and administration. New Meridian will provide content for the test, while the state has a one-year contract with Pearson to administer the test this spring. The vendor for future test administration is yet to be determined.