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May 8, 2007


Many thanks to all the teachers and coordinators who worked hard to make the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) writing assessment a success. We appreciate the time and effort you all put into this assessment. We are now ready to move away totally from the portfolio to the new test for Reading, Mathematics and Science. The following are key points that will be needed in the fall of 2007.

New Type of Test: The IAA is now a performance-based assessment in which teachers administer 6 tasks per content area to students at a specific point during the year. Teachers score students based on a new four-point rubric and a sampling of teachers throughout the state will have their scores validated by Independent Panelists. The portfolio assessment will no longer be used to assess students taking the IAA. Pearson Educational Measurement (PEM) is the contractor for the new test.

IAA Reading, Mathematics & Science Fall Pilot -- September 17 – 28, 2007: All students who take the IAA will participate in the census pilot testing for Reading, Mathematics and Science. A census pilot requires all students taking the IAA to participate in subjects and grades as appropriate. In an effort to ensure that students taking the Fall pilot have received sufficient instruction in the grade level content, the IAA will be administered to students at one grade level higher than the student population that will be tested in the spring 2008 for IAA.

The Reading, Math & Science pilot addresses content standards and priority objectives at grades 3-8 & 11, but the pilot will be administered at grades 4-9 & 12. Accordingly, Illinois educators and IAA Coordinators, grades 3-9, 11 & 12, are encouraged to participate in the Fall 2007 Regional Trainings (see below).

The IAA Reading, Math, & Science operational assessment which counts for AYP purposes will be administered on March 10 – April 11, 2008, to students at grade level (i.e., grades 3-8 & 11). IAA writing also will be administered March 10 -April 11 at grades 5, 6, 8 and 11.

Pilot Materials: In an effort to save time and effort required by IAA Coordinators, Pearson will ship materials for the pilot to schools/districts/cooperatives directly based on 2007 IAA student counts and testing school RCDTS codes available on ISBE’s Student Information System (SIS) or CPS data base. Coordinators are not required to place initial orders for IAA test materials through Pearson's Assessment Network. However, additional orders can be placed through the Assessment Network. More information on ordering additional materials will be sent closer to the time of testing.

Online Scoring: The September 17-28 pilot will require teachers to submit student scores through an online scoring process. Teachers will not submit answer documents to Pearson. ISBE and Pearson will offer training for the online scoring process in late August/early September prior to the pilot administration September 17-28. Online scoring was offered for the 2007 Writing test and some teachers and IAA Coordinators are already familiar with the process. Information on training will be sent out around August 1 to Coordinators and those on the Special Ed and Student Assessment listservs.

Fall 2007 Training: In addition to the online training, ISBE and PEM will offer teacher and IAA Coordinator training in late August and early September for administering the IAA pilot. A training schedule will be distributed around August 1 to Coordinators and those on the Special Ed and Student Assessment listservs.

Rubric, Framework Priorities, Bibliography & Art or Graphics: The Rubric and IAA Framework Priorities for all content areas are posted on the IAA Web site. In addition, some pilot tasks will require the use of supplemental materials to help students respond. ISBE will also post these supplemental materials such as a bibliography and art or graphics around August 1. We will inform coordinators through email updates.

Please reference the IAA Web site for additional information on the new test and upcoming dates. For questions, contact Marilyn Leveque at

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Illinois State Board of Education
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Springfield, IL 62777