NEWS

For Immediate Release                                                                                                               
September 17, 2008

State testing trends show continued improvement by Illinois elementary students

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois grade school students are showing academic improvement according to statewide testing results released today. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) reviewed and released the state averages for the 2008 tests, which were given to students in grades 3-8 and 11 this past spring. Looking at testing trends for the 2008 tests shows elementary student performance continues to improve.

 “When we look at the long-term trends we’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing with our elementary student progress. We’re seeing across the board improvement in the trend data, in some cases more than a 20-point improvement in just 6 years worth of data ,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch. “The student performance at the high school level is a concern, where we’re seeing flat scores in math and science and, in fact, a decrease in reading. The Board is making improvement at the high school level a focus; we’ve reviewed our state standards and we’re joining the American Diploma Project so that we can begin to establish consistency between standards, curriculum, assessments and college entry expectations.” 

The most recent tests were given in March and April. Students in grades 3-8 took the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in reading and mathematics while students in grades 4 and 7 were tested in science. Students in grade 11 take the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE), which tests students in math, reading and science. 

The statewide average percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on all state tests increased slightly from 73.8% in 2007 to 74.8% in 2008. Overall student performance on the ISAT increased 78.7% in 2007 to 79.1% in 2008, while the average percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards on the PSAE stayed virtually unchanged from 52.6% in 2007 to 52.5% this year. Students with disabilities whose participation in ISAT or the PSAE would not be appropriate take the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA). The state average on IAA increased from 59.1% to 66.3% in 2008. 

In past years’ some students classified as English Language Learners (ELL) took the IMAGE exam, however that is no longer an option. In order for Illinois to meet federal guidelines under the No Child Left Behind Act, the ISBE had to eliminate the IMAGE and instead those students were tested using the ISAT or PSAE with accommodations. The elimination of IMAGE negatively impacted the test scores of certain school districts, especially those with large clusters of ELLs.

ISAT Math Statewide Average Percentage Meets/Exceeds:


Grade 3
2003
75.7%
2004
79.2%
2005
79.2%
2006
85.6%
2007
86.8%
2008
85.1%

Grade 4
2006
84.8%
 
2007
86.4%
 
2008
84.6%

Grade 5
2003
68.3%
 
2004
71.8%
 
2005
73.1%
 
2006
78.6%
 
2007
82.5%
 
2008
81.4%

Grade 6
2006
79.1%
 
2007
81.4%
 
2008
82.6%

Grade 7
2006
76.1%
 
2007
79.4%
 
2008
80.4%

Grade 8
2003
53.1%
 
2004
54.4%
 
2005
54.3%
 
2006
78.2%
 
2007
81.3%
 
2008
80.4%



ISAT Reading Statewide Average Percentage Meets/Exceeds:


Grade 3
2003
62%
2004
65%
2005
66.6%
2006
70.7%
2007
73%
2008
71.7%

Grade 4
2006
72.9%
 
2007
73.7%
 
2008
73.2%

Grade 5
2003
60.4%
 
2004
60.9%
 
2005
59.8%
 
2006
68.5%
 
2007
69.7%
 
2008
73.5%

Grade 6
2006
72.8%
 
2007
73.4%
 
2008
79%

Grade 7
2006
72%
 
2007
73.4%
 
2008
77.7%

Grade 8
2003
63.7%
 
2004
67.1%
 
2005
72.7%
 
2006
79.2%
 
2007
81.8%
 
2008
81.4%


PSAE Statewide Averages Percentage Meets/Exceeds:

Reading
Mathematics
Science
2003
56.4%
53.3%
51.3%
2004
56.8%
53.1%
52.9%
2005
59.5%
52.8%
52.5%
2006
58.4%
53.6%
50.8%
2007
54.1%
52.7%
51.0%
2008
53.3%
53.0%
51.2%

In addition, the School Report Cards have been provided in record time for the second year in a row to districts statewide – the earliest release in the 22-years of producing school report cards. ISBE has produced the School Report Card since 1986 for every public school and district in the state. State report cards have been produced since 2002 and are required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Report cards now include the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) School Status information.

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.

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.

Local districts must release their report cards to the public by October 31st. The ISBE Report Card will be available to the public on that date.