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February 27, 2002

More Than 2,800 Students Earn Prairie State Achievement Awards in All 5 Topics

More than 2,800 Illinois high school juniors earned Prairie State Achievement Awards in all five subjects on a statewide test students took for the first time in April 2001.

The Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) measures the performance of grade 11 students in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social science. A total of 2,843 students earned Prairie State Achievement Awards for scoring in the “Exceeds Standards” in all five topics.

Of the more than 113,000 students who took the test, 27,573 - just under one-fourth - earned a Prairie State Achievement Award in at least one topic.

Students earned the greatest number of awards - 17,225 - in social science. Reading was next with 13,151 awards, followed by science (12,867 awards), writing (10,621) and mathematics (10,185).

The data show that at the highest level of performance, there are still achievement gaps that divide the test results of students with different backgrounds. For example, more than 28 percent of students not eligible for free or reduced-price lunches earned at least one award; fewer than 6 percent of eligible students reached the same mark. Similar gaps exist in the performance of various ethnic groups.

The results also indicated gaps between the highest achievement of male and female students. Males earned a higher percentage of awards in mathematics (11.1 percent to 7.1 percent), science (14.7 percent to 8.4 percent) and social science (20.2 percent to 10.3 percent); females earned the higher percentage in reading (12.2 percent to 11.3 percent) and writing (10.9 percent to 8.1 percent).

Students took the test for the first time in April 2001. Grade 11 students will take the test this spring on April 24-25.

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