Editorials

Illinois leaders fail students on timely science test scores

Comparing the state tests for Illinois students

In 2018, schools in Illinois were digging into state test data to learn how much students knew about new science standards in 2016. Belleville News-Democrat education reporter Lexi Cortes explains what the Illinois Science Assessment is.
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In 2018, schools in Illinois were digging into state test data to learn how much students knew about new science standards in 2016. Belleville News-Democrat education reporter Lexi Cortes explains what the Illinois Science Assessment is.

Imagine taking a test and not getting the results for two years. Isn’t the point of testing to identify gaps in learning and address those deficiencies?

Illinois schools just got results from the 2016 Illinois Science Assessment tests. They will get 2017 results in February.

Blame the two-year lag on the state budget impasse and our bankrupt state’s inability to pay the vendor to score the tests.

But that’s not the worst part.

Because schools did not have the results and were unable to adjust teaching methods or curriculum to fix problems, the state will not hold any schools accountable for science test results until 2020.

So right there is one of the hidden costs of political gamesmanship. Thanks to the adults in Springfield, 2 million students in Illinois are just that much further behind in science than they might have been.

The silver lining is that more students in Illinois met the science standards than meet the language and math standards on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam. About 60 percent of elementary students and 40 percent of high school students hit the science mark. PARCC gets a 34 percent pass rate statewide.

Of the local schools, more than 90 beat the state averages. Some elementary schools had 80 to 90 percent of their students meet the science standards, and some high schools were at about 60 percent.

That’s a good foundation. For the practitioners of political science to again let a budget impasse disrupt that progress would be a hard fail.

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