Embargoed until 11:00 a.m.
July 29, 2004
State Assessment results encouraging Achievement gap
continues to close
(Springfield) State Superintendent Robert E. Schiller
Thursday announced that overall performance on state assessments
continue, especially among Hispanic, low income and black
students in the areas of reading, mathematics, writing
and science, however, he said he remains concerned about
flat performance by high school students in nearly all
areas, except social science.
When we look at the gains that our black, Hispanic
and low income students have made since 2001, it is remarkable,
Schiller said. We are seeing steady and significant
improvement which again illustrates that our students
are succeeding and our schools certainly are not failing
At a Springfield news conference, Schiller released the
statewide aggregate scores on the 2004 Illinois Standards
Achievement Exam (ISAT), given to elementary school students;
the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE), given to high
school juniors; the Illinois Measure of Annual Growth
in English (IMAGE), which measures the progress of students
with limited English proficiency in attaining English-language
reading and writing skills, and the Illinois Alternate
Assessment (IAA), designed for students with Individualized
Education Programs for whom all other state assessments
are inappropriate, even with accommodations, because of
Six-year assessment data for Illinois elementary school
students show an upward trend in mathematics in all grades
tested, and over the past four years there is a continued
narrowing in the achievement gap in many subjects and
grade levels for black, Hispanic and low-income students.
A snapshot of performance:
- Reading: Moderate gains in grades 3 and 8,
marginal gain in grade 5.
- Mathematics: All grades continue to improve,
with 65.4 percent of third graders meeting or exceeding
standards, of those students there were significant
gains by black students who made a 5.2 gain; Hispanic
students made a 6.7 gain; and low-income students made
a 5.7 gain.
- Writing: Overall performance has been erratic,
but there were year-to-year gains in each grade assessed,
including 5th graders who moved from 64.8 to 69.9.
- Science: Remains steady with small gains in
both grades 4 and 7.
- Social Science: Despite moderate gains in 2003,
we actually saw a small decrease in 2004.
- In each subject area, Reading, Mathematics, Writing,
Science and Social Science we saw slight improvement,
with the exception of Mathematics which saw a .02 decrease.
- 11th grade students who were assessed in writing showed
marked improvement, of nearly 7 points.
- In grades 3,5,8, and 11 writing performance in the
expanding and transitioning levels increased, especially
in grade 5 where there was a 23.4 jump and grade 11
where there was an 11.9 increase.
These results are a very important tool,
Schiller said. Noting the decline in Social Science
in both fourth and seventh grade, it begs the question,
should we put an increased emphasis on History and Geography?
Schiller explained how the assessments support our states
education foundation: The Illinois Learning Standards,
which were adopted in 1997. State assessments are aligned
with the Illinois Learning Standards and measure student
achievement against those standards and inform the public
about how Illinois children are learning. For students
to do well on state assessments, their curriculum must
be aligned with the state standards.
State Board Chair Dr. Janet Steiner, noted that the assessment
data allows us to appreciate the gains that all students
are making, and the State Board is particularly proud
of the narrowing of the achievement gap. Programs
like the 21st Century Grants and Summer Bridges which
target students in need through after school and summer
school programs really do make a difference. We consistently
see the positive impact of using our resources on students
who are struggling but want to learn, Steiner said.
The most recent state test was given in April. Elementary
school students are tested in reading, writing and mathematics
in grades three, five and eight and in science and social
science in grades four and seven. Eleventh graders are
tested in reading, writing, math, science and social science
as part of the PSAE, which also includes the ACT test
and two ACT Work Keys assessments.
The test results from reading and math are used to comply
with the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind
Act and are used to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress
(AYP) as required under the law. The AYP results are used
to identify Title I schools that must offer school choice
and Supplemental Educational Services.
School districts this week got their first look at their
performance data as part of the second data verification
window. Schools previously reviewed their demographic
and enrollment data and in the next few weeks will finalize
the assessment information that will be used to create
the State and local school report cards to be released
The complete data charts for all grades and subjects
tested can be viewed at: http://www.isbe.net/pdf/2004_assessment_results.pdf
Audio clips are available at: