Illinois Schools See Changes on Report Cards
Updated: Thursday, November 7 2013, 09:39 AM CST
Illinois schools recently got their own report cards from the state. This lets school officials and parents see how each school stacks up to state standards.
Schools are in a transition period, and it's showing on their report cards. The state is trying to move school districts to a different system of standards for evaluation. One step in that process was raising requirements for a statewide standardized test. So a student actually has to score higher on their achievement test to meet or exceed the state standard.
"I'm totally against it. I think the school could use that time to better their education as opposed to seeing how we rank," Kelly, a mother of three, said.
Kelly doesn't like the idea of standardized tests in any context, especially now that it's more difficult for her kids to reach the "meets or exceeds" level.
School officials say the change in ISAT scoring does show on their school report card, which you can view online yourself at illinoisreportcard.com.
"It doesn't mean that our kids did less or that our teachers did something wrong, it's just that they changed the expectations," Jill Larson, Assistant Superintendent of Ball-Chatham School District, said.
Ball-Chatham school district notified parents of the scoring switch ahead of time, and some moms support the higher standards.
"It makes it hard for the kids who are smarter, because then they're doing the easy stuff and they're not being challenged enough. So then they're getting behind where they should be advancing," Tonya Guthrie explained.
These somewhat misleading test scores are just a bump in what will likely be a rough road for Illinois schools. Next year, standards to meet or exceed will go up once again, and then schools will be switched to a whole new evaluation system: Common Core standards.
These new standards are designed to be tougher, but very different from current testing.
"We are continuing to work with Common Core and design those lessons, and our literacy coach and numeracy coaches are in the classrooms modeling the lessons and best practices. We just keep plugging away trying to meet the individual students' needs," Larson said.
ISAT scores are mainly to compare individual schools to state standards. Those standards are meant to gauge how ready Illinois students are for college or a career.