Bye Bye To The Writing Exam

The state board of education is dropping the writing portion of the ISAT, which costs roughly $2.4 million and is not required by federal law. Do you care?

Illinois cancels the state's last writing exam Tribune:  Gov. Pat Quinn signed the belt-tightening move into law last week as part of the state's spending plan. The writing assessments for elementary and middle school students already had been dropped last year.

Illinois Drops Writing from Exam Fox: Cutting the writing exams will save about $2.4 million amid the state's budgetary shortfalls. Writing tests for elementary and middle school students were dropped last year.

Illinois drops writing from standardized exam WBEZ:  Writing skills will no longer be tested during the state's standardized exams for high school juniors every spring.

It makes sense to me to drop this portion, even though I liked having it there.  Other states are doing the same.  I've always had questions about the rubrics and personnel used to rate the written responses, anyway -- especially after reading Todd Farley's Making The Grades, a book about the test scoring industry.


Leave a comment
  • I think this is sad as already schools are not as focused on writing because it is not tested. And if and when it comes back in 2014, schools will then be scrambling again to catch up. While the test may not have been the best, it did force schools to teach writing more effectively. When I worked in the private sector, my company offered training classes on writing because some people did not know how to write an effective email or report. I fear this situation will only get worse.

  • Testing the writing skills of students does not drive the teaching of writing skills. The problem we have, not just in CPS by the way, is teaching students to become effective writers is a very time consuming process. With the pressures teachers face to cover the required curriculum it is very difficult to spend the time having students do longer more demanding writing assignments.

    Teaching students to effectively analyze writing prompts, differentiate between expository and narrative compositions, and developing interesting and motivating assignments is a tall order for teachers. If teachers are following a reasonable writing instruction process there should be a Pre-Write session, a Rough Draft produced, a revised editied version of that Draft, and then a final Draft. This multi step process eats up time in a very major way and it is very difficult for teachers at most grade levels to consistently provide writing instruction accross the school year. So the problem is larger than just the test ISBE is or is not ordering students to take.

    Rod Estvan

  • fb_avatar

    The dumbing down of Americans continues. Does Illinois teach creationism and fairy tales as well? As an examiner for the International Baccalaureate history examinations, I can tell you that it is clear by looking at an exam if an American has written it; those whose English is their second language show a pronounced fluency in grammar and vocabulary. America's reputation abroad slides further.

  • "One bill requires Illinois school districts to teach all children about preventing violence and resolving conflicts. While fourth through 12th graders get that instruction now, the new bill includes youngsters in the kindergarten through third grades."
    AR-some time ago you listed ALL the things that the Il School Code and Education Bills require teachers to teach. This, added with all the testing taking up instructional time, when is there time to teach writing? There is little time to teach reading, math and science. And none for social studies, until it is Constitution time.

Leave a comment