FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2003
Governor Signs Bill Enhancing State Assessment System
Legislation includes annual testing in reading and
math for grades 3-8
August 6, 2003 -- Legislation
signed into law yesterday by Governor Blagojevich will
result in an enhanced statewide testing system that will
help improve student mastery of the Illinois Learning
Standards and put Illinois in compliance with the requirements
of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) statute, Robert
E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education said today.
The Governor signed HB 2352, which makes several significant
changes -- including the establishment of annual testing
in reading and math for grades 3-8 -- in the Illinois
Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) given each spring in
Illinois public elementary schools. The changes will effect
no later than the 2005-06 school year.
We have had a high quality system of testing in
Illinois up to now, but these changes will give it even
more credibility, Schiller said.
The legislation grew out of recommendations made to the
General Assembly by the Assessment and Accountability
Task Force appointed last year by Schiller, who co-chaired
the group with Dr. Robert Nielsen, superintendent of Bloomington
District 87. The task force conducted numerous meetings
and five public hearings across the state, then proposed
changes required by the NCLB and additional changes to
ensure a more useful system of state assessments.
Our enhanced statewide assessment system will have
a high level of reliability and validity and provide continuity
from the current assessment system, Schiller said.
It will provide timely results that are meaningful
and educationally useful for educators, parents and the
broader community. In the long run, it could even reduce
the amount of time students spend being tested, if school
districts come to rely on it and are able to eliminate
additional local testing, he said.
HB2352 includes the following specific changes, to be
in place by 20052006:
- Assess all students in reading and math in grades
38 (currently assessed in grades 3, 5 and 8);
- Assess social science in grades 5 and 8 (currently
grades 4 and 7);
- Increase writing assessment so that students are
assessed in grades 3, 4, 6, and 8 (currently students
are assessed in grades 3, 5, and 8);
- Assess writing in a more developmentally appropriate
- Limit time for ISAT testing to 38 hours (currently
- There will be no changes in the Prairie State Achievement
Examination (PSAE), which assesses reading, math, writing,
science, and social science at grade 11.
- Language is clarified regarding assessment of students
with limited English proficiency, consistent with NCLB,
to allow additional time for pupils in bilingual programs.
- Language is clarified that there will be a state testing
window for all state student assessments, rather than
a common testing month.
- Voluntary testing would be available if there
is sufficient federal funding to support it for
local diagnostic purposes, for additional high school
writing, and for physical development and health and
fine arts standards.
- A definition of all pupils is provided
to ensure that students in all public settings are assessed.
- School districts are encouraged to consider elimination
of local annual testing once the revised state assessment
is in place.