Illinois ISAT Results Out, On line
- Subject: Illinois ISAT Results Out, On line
- From: "George N. Schmidt" <Csubstance@AOL.COM>
- Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 07:13:52 EST
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Yesterday, Illinois jumped into the stakes sweepstakes with the release of
the ISAT (Illinois Standards Assessment Tests) test results by the Illinois
State Board of Education. Newspapers all over the state jumped into the
"World Series" approach to interpreting the test results, listing "top" and
"bottom" schools based on the scores. The Chicago Tribune did a more careful
job than most, breaking out schools by per pupil spending and teacher
salaries (but not by race).
Probably the most interesting thing about the results is that these tests
were administered nine months ago (!) during February 1999, and the results
are only being released now. A brief flurry of activity hit in September when
there were criticisms of the results of the math tests. Partly as a result of
all of the "test anomalies" the state has decided not to use the tests to
place schools on its academic warning lists this year.
Typical of the approach to the coverage is the following quote (from the jump
of the Tribune story which began on Page One, November 24, 1999):
"This is the first time the state has used the Illinois Standards Assessment
Tests, which is part of a nationwide movement toward well-defined educational
Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times have posted the
information on their websites:
You can also hit the Illinois State Board of Education for more information.
The Sun-Times again published "sample" question provided by the state, but
there are no public plans to release the entire tests for public scrutiny.
None of the media coverage of the event that I caught was critical of the
testing program itself. It is of some interest that Illinois waited until the
week of Thanksgiving (typically, a time when news does not focus on
education, since retail sales and travel are so important) to release the
material. At least it was released before Thanksgiving, and not this coming
One small note of interest which I am checking out. None of the children I
know (my son included) has been given the 1999 ISAT results. I don't know yet
whether this is a Chicago situation or is true for the whole state. This is
an additional example of how the program bears no relationship to
instruction, despite the fact that the state claims that the ISAT is better
than its predecessor because it is "correlated" to a 144-page "standards"
We will file Freedom of Information requests for the complete tests, for the
technical manuals for the overall program and for each of the subtests, and
for all other validations of the materials.
George N. Schmidt
5132 W. Berteau
Chicago, IL 60641
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