From: STATE SUPERINTENDENT
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 12:02 PM
To: 'Regional Superintendents and Special Education Directors District Superintendents '
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 3-7-03

 

 

Good Morning.  With respect to the late Mr. Rogers, it has been another busy week in the Springfield neighborhood.  Highlights included House Committee approval of an important NCLB proposal, another presentation to the House Education Appropriations Committee, a meeting with the IASA Advisory Committee, and a meeting of the State Teacher Certification Board.  The specific topics that will be covered in today’s message are

 

 

 

General State Aid Data

 

New data, including the 2000 census and other changes, has been factored into our GSA calculations, providing us with figures that we will use for budget projections throughout the rest of the legislative session.  (We do not receive final data until July, but there will be no changes between now and then.)

 

The new calculations indicate the following:

 

 

 

Committee Action on State Assessment Changes

 

A bill that reflects the state assessment recommendations of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force was passed by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on Wednesday, with a vote of 16-0.  HB 2352 was introduced by its sponsor, Representative Jerry Mitchell, who is a member of the Task Force, and he and I responded to questions from Committee members.  This was an important step forward for Illinois to meet the requirements of NCLB and the Committee’s action was encouraging.  A fact sheet about the provisions of the bill is provided at the end of this message.

 


House Appropriations Committee Hearing

 

On Tuesday, I met with the House Education Appropriations Committee to discuss federal funding for schools.  This was an important dialogue because federal funding now makes up 27 percent of the $7.2 billion budget administered by the State Board of Education and the state must meet maintenance-of-effort requirements to continue receiving some of these funds.  In addition, as all of you are aware, state and local educational programs are increasingly driven by federal requirements such as NCLB.  This was the fourth opportunity to share information with the Committee and I appreciate the members’ continuing interest in all aspects of our funding dilemma.

 

A summary of federal programs and several audio excerpts from my testimony can be accessed through the State Board website, http://www.isbe.net.

 

On Tuesday, March 11, the committee’s hearing will be devoted to testimony from parties interested in ISBE’s proposed FY04 budget and in education funding in general. The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. in Room 118, the Capitol. If you want to be heard on this vital subject, this is an excellent opportunity.

 

 

College Preparatory Core Curriculum

 

The State Board of Education is seeking the assistance of high school and unit district superintendents in determining how many school districts offer and require students to take a college preparatory core curriculum.  We are asking you to complete a short survey that can be accessed at https://sec1.isbe.net/iwas/.

 

Since this information could be used in the legislative process, we are requesting that you complete the survey by March 15, 2003.  We appreciate your assistance and cooperation.

 

 

Supplemental Service Providers

 

To fulfill our obligations with respect to NCLB requirements, we are again soliciting applications from potential supplemental educational service (SES) providers. 

 

NCLB requires that any school that fails to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for three consecutive years and any school that has corrective action or school restructuring status must provide supplemental educational services for eligible children.  Providers of these supplemental services must have a “demonstrated record of effectiveness.”

 

Parents will select providers for their children, assisted by the school district if requested, from a list approved by the Illinois State Board of Education.

 

Eligible applicants include local education agencies (LEA), educational service agencies and public schools including public charter or private schools, non-profit entities, and for-profit entities. However, public school districts and schools in NCLB school improvement are not eligible to apply.

 

Applications and the list of districts having schools that may be required to offer supplemental educational services (SES) is available at http://www.isbe.net/nclb/htmls/sesp.htm or by calling Dr. Cheryl Bradley, State Board of Education, 618/244-8383.

 

 

Spanish GED Students

 

Significant changes to the GED program this year will have a particular impact the Spanish GED candidates in the state.  Therefore, I hope you will pass the following information to the appropriate staff in your districts.

 

Illinois Hispanic adults working toward their GED certificate have until December 31, 2003 to successfully complete the Spanish-language GED Tests.

 

The GED Testing Service in Washington, DC will introduce new Spanish-language tests on January 1, 2004 to replace the current edition.  Any Spanish GED candidate who has not successfully completed the GED Tests by that time must start again with the 2004 Series GED Tests to qualify for an Illinois High School Equivalency Certificate.  Scores from the current test cannot be converted to scores on the new tests.  The English-language GED Tests were introduced nationally on January 1, 2002. 

 

Persons who have begun testing in Spanish, but have not passed all five tests, must do so as soon as possible to earn the scores needed to qualify them for a certificate before the December 2003 cut-off date.  Those not passing all five tests must begin testing again in January 2004 with the new Spanish-language GED Tests.  Interest in completing the requirements to obtain a GED by the deadline has increased and opportunities for testing may be limited during the remainder of 2003. 

 

The new Spanish-language GED Tests will be a direct translation of the English-language GED Tests and will continue to measure the significant and lasting outcomes of a four-year high school course of study in English Language Arts, social studies, science and mathematics.


 

The tests incorporate the most current, widely used curriculum standards and standardized assessment practices available.  Graduating high school seniors will continue to set the benchmark by which passing scores are set.

 

 

Local Superintendent Joins ISBE Leadership

 

Last week’s message included information about appointments to management vacancies that were created by the retirements of key personnel.  Among those appointments was a local superintendent, Donna Luallen, who is replacing Gary Ey as Manager for School Finance.  Donna was the superintendent at the Shiloh School District in Hume and she has previously served as an elementary principal, K-12 principal, Tech-Prep Coordinator, and business education teacher.  Her goal is to better align our services to local needs and issues.  Donna’s broad range of experience in dealing with local issues will be extremely valuable in meeting that goal and we welcome her to our state education staff.

 

 

Fact Sheet on Student Assessment Changes

 

Background

State Superintendent Schiller appointed an Assessment and Accountability Task Force in September 2002 and co-chaired it with Dr. Robert Nielsen, Superintendent of Bloomington District #87.  After five public hearings statewide and numerous meetings, the task force agreed with the required changes due to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) as well as other changes which would ensure a more useful system of state assessments.

 

The Assessment and Accountability Task Force recommended an enhancement of the current state assessment system in order to develop an appropriate, high quality statewide K-12 assessment system, based on the Illinois Learning Standards.  The enhanced statewide assessment system should have a high level of credibility, reliability, and validity and provide continuity from the current assessment system.  The system must provide timely results that are meaningful and educationally useful for educators, parents and the broader community.  This system will place Illinois in compliance with NCLB and create a useful tool to continuously improve student learning in relation to the Illinois Learning Standards. 


 

Specific Changes

v     There will be changes in the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) by no later than 2005-06 (see chart below):

o       assess all students in reading and math in grades 3-8 and 11;

o       move assessment grades in social science from grades 4 and 7 to grades 5 and 8;

o       increase writing assessment so that students in grades 3, 4, 6 and 9 are assessed (now grades 3, 5 and 8); and

o       State testing shall not exceed 40 hours for ISAT (now states 25 hours).

v     There will be no changes in the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).

v     Language is clarified regarding assessing students with limited-English proficiency, consistent with NCLB for those pupils in a year 4 or a year 5 bilingual program.

v     Clarifies that there will be a state testing window rather than a common month.

v     Voluntary testing would be available if there is sufficient federal funding available to support it, for local diagnostic purposes, additional high school writing, and additional physical development, health, and fine arts standards.

v     There is a definition of "all pupils" in order to assure that students in all settings are assessed.

 

Action needs to occur in the 2003 General Assembly session in order to have the Illinois State Board of Education incur costs with a contractor(s) for test development and piloting for the proposed testing schedule.

 

 

Factsheetonstudentassessmentchanges.doc

 

State Assessments Required by Current State Law*

 

ISAT

PSAE

Subject Tested

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12***

Reading**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathematics**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PD/Health and Fine Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Does not include Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) or Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English (IMAGE).  **Grade 2 was tested in 2002 in Title I schools in which the highest grade was grade 2, in order to hold all schools accountable.  ***Grade 12 PSAE testing is for the voluntary October retake.  Green indicates required tests that are now being given.  Violet indicates voluntary testing.

 

 

 

Proposed ISAT and PSAE Schedule

 

ISAT

PSAE

Subject Tested

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12****

Reading*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathematics*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PD/Health***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine Arts***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green indicates required tests.  Violet indicates voluntary testing.

*Adds grades 4, 6 and 7   ** Writing tests have been spread across 4 grades, with only one writing genre required for grades 3 and 4  ***Physical Development/Health continues to be included with science testing; Fine Arts continues to be included with social sciences testing.  ****Grade 12 PSAE testing is the voluntary October retake. 

 

Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education

statesup@isbe.net