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The standard-setting procedure begins with the establishment of basic definitions of what students should know and be able to do at a given performance level. These are based on the Illinois Learning Standards that are measured by the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).

Educators wrote performance definitions for reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social science for each of the following four levels: Exceeds Standards, Meets Standards, Below Standards, and Academic Warning. These draft performance definitions were then distributed throughout the state for review and comment. The resulting definitions were used as the foundation for determining the three cut points (Exceeds/Meets, Meets/Below, and Below/Academic Warning) for ISAT and PSAE during the standard-setting process.

ISAT Performance Definitions

PSAE Performance Definitions

  • Reading
  • Writing
    (This subject was assessed 2001 through 2004. Due to a July 2004 change in state law, the 2005 and 2006 PSAE assessed reading, mathematics, and science only. Writing was again assessed from 2007 to 2011 using a different PSAE test than was given 2001 through 2004. These writing performance definitions apply to the PSAE writing test from 2007 to 2011.)
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Science (This subject was assessed 2001 through 2004.)​​​​

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