"The lower expectations of the previous performance levels did our students a disservice by not adequately assessing their ability to succeed after high school." That was state Superintendent Christopher Koch explaining why the Illinois State Board of Education is switching to tougher scoring on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.
He didn't explain why the state didn't act sooner even though it knew about the dramatic dropoff in scores once students got to high school. But better late than never if the change might help improve learning and better prepare students for the future. Better to make the change now rather than wait until a new test replaces ISAT in the 2014-2015 school year.
Some of the superintendents we spoke with said the change in scoring will not change how their district teaches its students. They perhaps want to wait to see how many students meet or exceed expectations under the new standards before they make that determination.
If the success rate on tests drops dramatically, they will be doing students yet another disservice if they explain it away as just a change in scoring.