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Schools warn test scores likely to dip this year

Updated: March 15, 2013 1:24PM

Fewer elementary and middle school students met state standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test this school year, but that doesn’t mean students have changed. Neither have their teachers or schools.

The Illinois State Board of Education has added new material to the ISAT that students will take in March, and last month raised the scores required to meet levels considered indicative of readiness for college and careers. Administrators have said the change will result in Illinois third-graders’ reading scores dropping from 76 percent to 54 percent meeting or exceeding the standards.

Aiming to prepare parents for the virtual certainty of declining scores, the state rescored this year’s standardized tests using next year’s tougher standards.

“This is for advisory purposes only. It’s to let them know how they would have done if the new standards were in place,” said Mary Fergus, ISBE spokeswoman.

Susan Rice, communications director for Naperville District 203, said that under the recalculated scores scheduled for official release late this week, 80 percent of the district’s students in grades 3 through 8 meet or exceed standards.

“This is a change of 12.8 percent from the previous measurement under the original scale,” Rice said in an e-mail. “This is not a loss (of) educational ground, but a higher mark to be reached. All schools in the state will note a similar shift in scores as this new formula is applied to old scores.”

Staff writers Susan Frick Carlman and Emily McFarland contributed to this report.

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