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Aligned assessments of readiness to recognize students’ growth in high school

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today posted a notice of award (reference #22041362) for the state’s procurement for aligned assessments in the ninth, 10th, and 11th grades. ISBE will provide the College Board’s PSAT 8/9 to all students in the ninth grade, PSAT 10 to all students in the 10th grade, and SAT to all students in the 11th grade for free beginning spring 2019. Offering these assessments will allow us to measure and support students’ growth in high school and to continue offering all students a free college entrance exam administered during the school day.


The aligned assessments will measure students’ mastery of the Illinois Learning Standards in English language arts and mathematics. The results will provide educators, families, and students with rich and meaningful data about students’ academic growth from year to year. The results will help educators tailor instruction and ensure all students receive the individual supports they need to graduate prepared for college and career. Students and educators will continue to have access to free, supplemental resources from Khan Academy to support learning in the classroom.


“Our commitment to excellence and equity drives our assessment design,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “We are excited to offer a growth measure in high school, in direct response to the needs and feedback of Illinois educators. The active and ongoing partnership of educators and practitioners has made Illinois a national leader in assessments. We look forward to continuing to work together to evolve our Illinois Assessments of Readiness to serve educators, students, and families with a more useful understanding of where students are in their learning journey today and how ready they are for what’s in front of them tomorrow.”


Students in the 11th grade statewide took the SAT as the state’s accountability assessment and as a free college entrance exam for the first time in 2017.


Illinois’ system for support and accountability currently includes growth for students in the third through eighth grades. Illinois educators and educational leaders expressed a strong desire for the state to expand our assessments to measure growth in high school. The system considers multiple measures of school progress to find and highlight schools with effective practices and to identify schools for additional support.


Providing aligned assessments in high school creates the capacity for schools to support and measure students’ performance and growth in high school. This also enables Illinois to potentially include that growth in the support and accountability system in the future. As with all other indicators for which there is not yet data, ISBE will collect three years of baseline data to ensure the indicator is valid and reliable and contributes to meaningful differentiation of school progress. ISBE will engage stakeholders before implementing changes to the approved support and accountability system.


Smith shared additional information about Illinois’ collective vision for assessments in a letter to district superintendents in February.