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D300 prepares for scores to drop with ISAT changes

Updated: March 14, 2013 6:26AM

ALGONQUIN — Fewer elementary and middle school students may meet 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 made changes to the ISAT that students will take in March, including incorporating new material and raising the scores students will need to meet.

“This is happening across the state. This is not a District 300 issue. This is a state issue,” said Kristin Corriveau, assistant superintendent of elementary teaching and learning.

“And so when we look at this, it’s important for us to understand that our kids haven’t changed in terms of their abilities. Our teaching hasn’t been impacted. It’s really a change in the actual assessment.”

Those changes are something Community Unit School District 300 residents have requested more information about, Superintendent Michael Bregy told the District 300 Board of Education Monday night at its regular meeting.

They come as Illinois implements what are called Common Core Standards “and the rigor that come with those,” Corriveau said. The state board raised the scores students will need to meet on the ISAT because it determined they were not high enough to predict their readiness for college or a career, she said.

That means the number of District 300 third-graders meeting or exceeding state standards in reading likely will drop from 75 percent to 57 percent this year, according to Kara Vicente, assistant superintendent for middle school teaching and learning. Meantime, the state average is projected to drop from 76 percent to 54 percent, Vicente said.

In math, that number in the Carpentersville-based district could fall from 88 percent to 57 percent, she said. Statewide, it could fall from 88 to 55.

For example, a third-grader who scored 200 out of 341 in math last year would have been “squarely” within the range considered meeting state standards, according to the presentation Monday by Corriveau and Vicente. That same third-grader would be considered below standards this year.

That’s because last year a score of 184 was the lowest possible to meet those standards; this year, it will be 214, Corriveau said.

Students take the ISAT for the first time in third grade, and third-grade math scores likely will see the most “significant” drop on this year’s test, she said.

This year, 20 percent of the content on the ISAT also will be based in Common Core Standards, Vicente said. That’s something District 300 already has begun to implement into its curriculum, she added.

But that’s not all bad, Vicente said. It will give district feedback sooner on how well students are on track for college and career readiness. To this point, it hasn’t gotten that feedback until a student took what’s called the EXPLORE test in middle school, she said.

“If we get that information earlier in a student’s career, we can start making sure the student actually is on course for college and career expectations,” she said.

“This is also going to give us a better indication of what we can expect our kids to be performing at when the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments come online and also help us target professional development and instruction in those areas where we know kids aren’t as ready as we would like to see them.”

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