For Immediate Release
February 2, 2009

ISBE doubles online capacity for interactive ISAT sample tests to meet demand

Nearly one million online sample tests taken in past year as students prepare for annual exam

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced it has doubled online capacity in 2009 to meet the demand of up to 6,000 people taking practice tests simultaneously for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). Nearly one million practice tests have been accessed online since last February when the interactive tool made its debut on the ISBE Web site. More tests are likely to be accessed in the coming weeks before the annual exam in March.

“The interactive test is just another tool parents and students can use to help prepare for the annual exam and perhaps relieve some test anxiety,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “The sample test’s popularity reflects the awareness and emphasis of standardized testing under the No Child Left Behind law.’’

The ISAT tests will be administered March 2 through the 13th this year in schools throughout Illinois and the interactive tests can be found online at

This year’s online test was recently updated with additional sample items at every grade level to give test takers some new challenges.

Nearly one million Illinois students in third through eighth grades will take the ISAT in reading and mathematics. In addition to the reading and math tests, students in fourth and seventh grades will be tested in science and students in the third, fifth, sixth and eighth grades will be tested in writing.

Last year, the Web site averaged 3,000 tests per hour during regular school hours and 100 tests per hour during evenings and weekends in the weeks prior to the annual exam. After completing the sample test, each student is shown the number of correct and incorrect answers, as well as the percentage of correct answers. The sample test summary also highlights the correct answer in green and the student’s answer in red, if it is incorrect.

Between Feb. 1, 2008, when the online sample tests were first posted on the ISBE site and Dec. 31, some 976,585 tests were accessed on the site.

The sample questions in the interactive tests are the same questions in the ISAT Sample Books that were posted online in November and were mailed to each school by the end of January. The sample books are available online at

Other ISAT testing facts:

Results from the 2009 state testing will be released this fall in the annual school, district and state Report Card. The Report Card offers a wealth of useful and important information for students, schools and districts, as well as parents and community members including overall student performance; performance on state assessments; student demographics; and financial information.

In addition to student performance, attendance rates and graduation rates from the 2008-2009 school year will be used to determine if schools and districts met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires all states to measure each public school’s and district’s achievements and establish annual achievement targets for the state. The overreaching goal is for all students to meet or exceed standards in reading and mathematics by 2014.

In April, students in 11th grade take the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE), which tests students in math, reading, science and writing.