Resources

Illinois Learning Standards


Teacher's Guide to Classroom Assessments for the Illinois Learning Standards



Purpose

The classroom assessments are resources to help teachers determine local performance expectations for the Illinois Learning Standards at each grade level. Each assessment includes the following (see the sample annotated assessment at the end of this section):

How Were They Developed?

The classroom assessments were developed by Illinois teachers for Illinois teachers. Writing teams for each of the 7 learning areas developed performance descriptors for all the Learning Standards at 10 developmental stages, ranging from grade 1 to grade 12. Next, the teams wrote assessments based on the descriptors for the 10 stages. Teachers from 280 school districts from across the state field-tested the assessments and provided student work samples. Finally, panels of field-test teachers and other educators from the respective learning areas validated the work samples at the “meets” and “exceeds” performance levels. Collectively, your colleagues, the writers and field-testers of these assessments, have devoted thousands of hours of their time to create the classroom assessments and we have acknowledged them on the Contributors to the Classroom Assessments list PDF File.

Are the Classroom Assessments State Mandates?

These assessments are intended as a resource, not a mandate, to illustrate how student performance of each Learning Standard can be assessed at each grade level. They are not exhaustive. In fact, the intent is for local school districts to adapt these assessments to their own uses and to develop others using performance descriptors as a basis. We highly recommend that teachers gather student work from across the district and set their own local standard for “meets” and “exceeds” performance levels.

What Is the Best Use of the Classroom Assessments?

Weaving classroom assessments into the normal flow of teaching/learning and combining assessments within and across learning areas may be the most effective and efficient way to assess and foster student achievement of the standards. Providing students ongoing, constructive feedback on performance in a timely manner can ensure students acquire a positive attitude toward continuous improvement. Setting priorities and being selective will ensure that the assessments are tied to significant and meaningful learning. Changing the context of the assessment to make it more relevant to student interests and local settings may enhance the face validity of the assessments and encourage student engagement in them.

Why Developmental Stages?

Classroom assessments were developed for ten developmental stages of each Learning Standard. Stages A–H correspond to grades 1 – 8. Stages I and J correspond to early and late high school. We used stages instead of grade levels to accommodate the range of development that exists in every classroom. For example, we would recommend that a third grade teacher begin by looking at Stage C because we wrote and field tested Stage C assessments with third graders in mind. But we would also recommend that a third-grade teacher look at Stages B and D.

Why Learning-Area Rubrics?

Every learning area has a learning-area or general rubric that focuses the evaluation of all student work on the overarching, essential elements of learning in that area. For example, in mathematics the expectation is that all students should develop not only mathematical knowledge but also mathematical strategies (e.g., reasoning and problem solving) and the ability to explain and justify their strategies. Each classroom assessment augments the learning area rubric by providing the task specific kind of evidence teachers should look for in the student work. The general learning-area rubrics developed by ISBE’s Assessment Division for English/language arts, mathematics and social science were used in these classroom assessments. Our writing teams for the other four learning areas developed general learning-area rubrics and task specific rubrics expressly for their classroom assessments.

Why Keep Continuous Improvement in Mind?

The classroom assessments have gone though many iterations, reviews and field tests, but they are not perfect. We hope they will be a useful resource to you, but let’s work together to make them even better. In using these assessments in your classroom, you may find a way to improve them. Please let us know so that we can continuously update the classroom assessments. Also, if one of your students produces work that you think other teachers would like to see, send it to us. If you do the latter, please contact us first because a parent permission slip must accompany all student work we use. Send your suggestions for improvement to:

Curriculum & Instruction
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777
(217) 557-7323

Sample Assessment With Annotations PDF File