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December 17 , 2002

Assessment and Accountability Task Force recommendations go before the State Board of Education

Recommendations of the State Superintendent’s Assessment and Accountability Task Force to bring Illinois into line with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 regarding assessment and adequate yearly progress issues are on the State Board of Education’s agenda Wednesday and Thursday.

State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller created the Task Force in October to study the issues and make recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly in the Spring 2003 session. The Task Force is co chaired by Schiller and Superintendent Robert Neilson of Bloomington School District 87.

No Child Left Behind requires all states to test students’ achievement of reading and mathematics standards annually in grades three through eight by the 2005-06 school year, and assess achievement of science standards at three grade levels as of 2007-08.. Illinois currently tests students in reading, mathematics and writing at grades 3, 5 and 8, and students in science and social science in grades 4 and 7. All five subjects are tested in grade 11 with the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).

After six day-long meetings and five public hearings, the Task Force produced preliminary recommendations and requested public comments on their content. After reviewing 332 comments and suggestions regarding the draft proposal, the Task Force produced the following recommendations on December 10th to be considered by the State Board:

  1. Testing reading and mathematics annually in grades 3 through 8 as required by NCLB;
  2. Changing writing assessments from grades 3, 5 and 8 to grades 3, 4, 6 and 8, and to one genre in grades 3 and 4 and two in grades 6 and 8;
  3. Moving social science tests to grades 5 and 8;
  4. * Modify use of the Illinois Alternate Assessment in terms of scoring periods and scoring process for 2002-03 and thereafter until a long-term process is put into place;
  5. Having the state pay for tests that schools could use voluntarily -- writing at grade 10 and ACT preparatory tests (EXPLORE at grade 8 or 9 and PLAN at grade 10);
  6. * Use of a national norm-referenced test producer under contract in terms of the next revision of ISAT for use in 2005-06
  7. More rapid return of test results to enable earlier diagnostics and intervention.

No changes were recommended at this time for the PSAE, which is a combination of state-developed items and the ACT and the ACT WorkKeys. A work group is looking at IMAGE and to date has not recommended any changes.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777