Advertisement

Illinois schools gear up for new achievement test

Almost as many questions are popping up about a new state achievement test as will be on the test for Illinois students next spring.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career consortium is preparing to administer a field test in April and May at select schools in Illinois and at least 16 other states.

Then in the spring of 2015, the test will be rolled out for all third-graders through high school seniors in Illinois, replacing the Illinois Standard Achievement Test.

But a number of concerns have surfaced, particularly at the high school level.

Lyons Township High School officials are voicing objections about the disruption to learning with parts of nine days required to administer portions of the test.

The assessment also is required to be given on computers, and without enough devices available for all freshmen through juniors, 18 days of instructional could be lost.

But the biggest concern is the test isn’t recognized for college admissions, like the ACT, which is a major component of the Prairie State Achievement Exam for all juniors.

“At LT now, every student gets to take the ACT whether they’re thinking of going to college or not,” said Scott Eggerding, director of curriculum and instruction. “At this point, the ACT would be eliminated and only offered on Saturdays if you pay for it.”

Superintendent Tim Kilrea said the exposure to the test prompts some students to pursue college, who otherwise wouldn’t have.

In addition, the new test would be given toward the end of the school year when Advanced Placement tests are given for students to earn college credit at some universities, as well as LT final exams.

“We’re not opposed to assessments and having our students demonstrate what they’ve learned, but we want them to have the time to learn,” Eggerding said.

Echoing Eggerding’s concerns, School Board President Mark Pera called the rollout of the new test a “train wreck coming that’s going to flatten everything.”

LT and Western Springs Elementary District 101 opted not to pilot the test this spring, because students and schools won’t learn the results or receive any data.

But La Grange Elementary District 102 and La Grange-Countryside District 105 decided to take part in the field test program so that the tests will be administered in a few classes in various grade levels and buildings.

“Yes, we are concerned we won’t get the results, yet the opportunity for kids to experience a little bit of what the assessment may be like and the different type of questions that may be asked, we saw some advantage to that,” said Kathryn Heeke, District 105 director of curriculum and instruction.

The district also will be able to see what’s expected in gearing up technology to administer the test. Elementary districts have more flexibility in administering the test on a staggered basis to various grade levels, compared to 800 to 1,000 freshmen at the same time, Heeke said.

Lori Gehrke, assistant superintendent for instruction, said District 102 also is eager to evaluate its technology readiness in the field test, as well as address some scheduling concerns.

“We’ll get a sense of how it would run next year,” she said. “There will be probably be glitches, and we’d rather have them come in the field test than in the actual administration of the test.”

The new test will involve more analysis through reading two selections and comparing and contrasting the passages, even in the math portion, rather than multiple choice, Gehrke said. The test is designed to assess mastery of Common Core standards.

0 Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
Advertisement

Modal