December 8, 2011

PSAE/ACT for Grade 11: 2012 Announcements

Impact of Grade 11 Definition and the Receipt of a Regular High School Diploma
ISBE has posted a flowchart to assist districts in applying the ISBE Rule that defines grade 11 and restricts promotion to grade 12 until a student has taken the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) or Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA). Please visit to review this flowchart. Additional information related to legislation about state assessment and the receipt of a regular high school diploma is also available at this link.

Status of ACT Writing for Spring 2012 PSAE Administration
As announced by State Superintendent Koch in his July 11, 2011 Weekly Message, the grade 11 writing component has been eliminated from the state assessment. Funding for grade 11 writing was not reinstated for 2012 during the fall veto session, so ACT Writing will not be a part of PSAE Day 1 in 2012. Many districts inquired as to whether the ACT Writing could be optionally self-funded, and ACT has indicated to ISBE that this is not a feasible option.

PSAE Test Accommodations Coordinators should not submit any accommodations requests specific to ACT Writing, as previously suggested. Any ACT Writing accommodations requests will not be reviewed by ACT since ACT Writing is not a component of the 2012 PSAE.

PSAE Day 1 will consist of the battery of four multiple-choice ACT tests to enable students to receive the bonus of a college-reportable ACT score, as long as PSAE Day 1 is administered under standard-time conditions or with ACT-Approved accommodations.

However, students taking the PSAE this year will not receive an ACT Writing score, and, therefore, students who are seeking admission to universities and colleges that require a writing score on a national examination must take either the ACT or SAT on a national test date and independently from the PSAE that is being administered this spring.  Of particular note for Illinois students is the University of Illinois, which requires an ACT Writing score.

ISBE apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause for students and hopes to be able to reinstate grade 11 writing for Spring 2013 if funding is restored. Should your school staff have any questions concerning the administration of the PSAE, please write to