All Eleventh Graders Take First-ever Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) 

Wednesday, Thursday

April 23, 2001

217/782-4648 or 312/814-1486

About 120,000 eleventh graders in Illinois public schools will demonstrate their achievement of the Illinois Learning standards April 25 and 26 on the first-ever Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).

The PSAE measures student mastery of the Illinois Learning Standards in reading, writing, mathematics, science and social science.  The Illinois Learning Standards set high expectations for what students should know and be able to do as a result of their schooling.  They are comprised of the knowledge and skills Illinois citizens believe students will need to be successful in life.

The PSAE is designed for all students, regardless of their plans for life after high school.  In addition to five PSAE scores showing the level of achievement of the Standards in the subjects tested, students will receive two bonuses - the ACT, providing college admission information, and ACT Work Keys, providing information on workplace skills.

Students will get special recognition on their permanent records for achieving well on PSAE subjects; ACT results may be used for college admission, and Work Key results may be used for employment applications.  Just as college officials use the ACT in determining whether to admit a student, many employers use Work Keys to determine if a job applicant has the necessary skills for the position.

The PSAE is the first state test to combine state-developed test items with a college entrance examination.  PSAE results will be determined through a combination of state-developed items, ACT items and Work Keys items.  In reading, PSAE results will be based upon the ACT reading portion and the Work Keys Reading for Information test.  For writing, the PSAE score will come from the ACT English portion and the writing test developed by the Illinois State Board of Education.  Mathematics PSAE results come from the ACT Mathematics items and the Work Keys Applied Mathematics test.  PSAE Science scores are derived from ACT Science Reasoning and ISBE-developed Science items.  PSAE scores in Social Science come entirely from the ISBE-developed items in Social Science.

The PSAE will take about 3 hours of students' time on day 1, April 25.  Day 2 of the PSAE, April 26, will require about four hours.  Eleventh-grade students who must miss those scheduled test days may take the PSAE make-up tests on May 9 and 10.  As provided by the legislation requiring the development of the PSAE, students who want to improve their scores may retake the entire PSAE in their senior year.

 A brochure that answers many of the questions that have been received from parents is available on the State Board's website (  Complete information about the PSAE, including sample questions for each subject area, is available in the PSAE Teachers' Handbook ( Each eleventh-grade teacher was sent a copy of the Teachers' Guide in September.  Student test preparation materials for each portion of the PSAE were provided for each eleventh-grade student in November.

Results from this first administration of the PSAE will be sent to districts this fall. Parents will receive reports detailing their student's progress toward meeting the Standards.

Students with disabilities who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that identify regular state testing as inappropriate for them will take the Illinois Alternative Assessment.  Limited English Proficient students who have been in bilingual programs three years or less may take the Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English (IMAGE) instead of PSAE.