Was there anything hinky or different about the reading exams this year?
A reader passed along this email from ISBE state superintendent Chris Koch about the current ISAT results being scrubbed right now.
From what I can tell, folks have already checked the demographic information (racial classifications, etc.) and -- most notable -- big shifts up and down on statewide reading scores that are based in part on extended response items.
Full email below.
>> Message from State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch
> The window for making corrections to your ISAT and IAA
> demographic information closed late last week and I want to
> thank all of you for your assistance in getting this work
> done quickly. As you know, this helps us to ensure that you
> receive results back in a timely manner.
> As we have been reviewing the ISAT results along with many
> of you, we have noticed some unanticipated results. There
> are some unexpected shifts, especially in reading in grades
> 3, 4, 6 and 8. There have been both noticeable increases and
> noticeable decreases in scores, depending on the grade being
> analyzed. These are not limited to a single district or set
> of districts, nor are they confined to a specific subgroup
> (e.g., ELL). Instead, we are seeing statewide trends.
> We are working collaboratively with several local districts
> and our contractor, Pearson Education, to conduct a thorough
> analysis of the results. To date we have asked Pearson to
> review their scoring of the extended response items, their
> logistical processes and their psychometric methods.
> Additionally, we will be bringing in an independent 3rd
> party to work with us to find answers.
> At their June meeting, our State Board members took action
> on a couple of items that I would like to bring to your
> attention. They approved transferring funds between
> mandated categorical line items. This was the first year
> that they have had the ability to authorize such transfers
> and directly benefit local districts. We had a shortfall in
> two categories, Special Education Personnel and
> Transportation, while at the same time there was a surplus
> in other line items. Without the Board's exercising
> this authority, we would have had to prorate some payments
> to school districts.
> The Board also approved moving forward with joining the
> American Diploma Project as part of our K-12 standards
> review process. The Board is committed to improving the
> rigor and relevance of the K-16 educational system. Through
> the College and Workforce Readiness Partnership, Achieve,
> Inc. reviewed the Illinois Learning Standards, which were
> adopted in 1997. This was the first time the ILS have been
> reviewed since their inception, and while the Illinois
> descriptors had some real strengths, there is significant
> work that can be done to improve our standards.
> The review of our high school standards is the first step
> in the process that will lead to a review and alignment of
> our K-12 standards to post-secondary and career
> expectations. In order to join the American Diploma
> Project, each state must have signoff from the Governor,
> Board of Education and Board of Higher Education, as well
> as representatives of the business community. We will begin
> working in partnership with these groups immediately so that
> we can begin the standards revision process this fall.
> Have a great week!
Filed under: ISBE / Springfield