New Standards Make Old Scores Look Bad In Illinois Schools

Feb 21, 2013

Starting March 4th, Illinois public school students will sharpen their number 2 pencils for this year’s round of standardized testing known as the ISATs. Meanwhile, school districts are warning parents that kids aren’t expected to score as highly as last year, under new higher standards. 

Statistics for Clinton Rosette students
Credit DeKalb School District

Last year, 81% of 6th graders at Clinton-Rosette Middle School in DeKalb met or exceeded state standards in math. But when those scores are adjusted to the state’s new tougher standards, only 55% made the grade. Kelly Summers coordinates assessment for the DeKalb School District. She says that’s to be expected in every Illinois school now that standards are shifting upward:

It’s not because they’re not making progress, or the school is not doing its job. It’s because the bar was raised.

It’s happening because the state is moving to more rigorous, more frequent standardized testing over the next few years. Doug Moeller is the assistant superintendent for curriculum in DeKalb Schools. He says although the numbers may not look good, the changes are positive:

It can provide early interventions for students because we can identify at a much earlier age what the trajectory is and whether they’re ready for college. 

Parents are receiving more information about the new standards in letters and emails from their school districts, as well as districts websites.