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02/23/2014
There are several important standardized tests that your child will inevitably come across while progressing through the Illinois education system. The two most common tests are the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE), the former given to students enrolled in grades 3 through 8, and the latter to juniors in high school. Other Illinois standardized tests include MAP assessments and the newly created PARCC assessment, which, as of the 2014-15 school year will take the place of the ISAT.

ISAT

- The Illinois Standards Achievement Test measures the achievement of students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and science in grades 4 and 7.
- The content of the operational reading portion of the test includes 50 multiple choice items, as well as an additional extended response item.  It covers the concepts of key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas.
- The content of the operational mathematics assessments include 65 multiple choice items, 2 short constructed response items, and 1 extended resopnse item.  The concepts are based on grade level.
- The operational science assessments, taken during a student's 4th and 7th grade year, contains 75 multiple choice items, all covering fundamental concepts, such as earth science and astronomy.

PSAE

The Prairie State Achievement Examination measures the achievement of Grade 11 students in reading, math, science, and writing.

The exam has 3 components:
- The ACT Plus Writing, which includes 4 multiple choice tests that cover English, Math, Reading, and Science, as well as Writing.  (This component plays an important role in college admissions process, as the schores are required and reviewed by most colleges in the nation.)
- An Illinois State Board of Education developed science assessment.
- Two WorkKeys Assessments (Applied Mathematics and Reading for Information).

PARCC

- The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments are set to replace the ISAT assessments and to begin in the 2014-15 school year.
- It will be computer-based and will be better aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
- According to the Illinois State Board of Education, "the assessments will include a rich set of performance-based taska that address a long standing concern among educators about large scale, pencil and paper assessments - they have been unable to capture some of the most important skills that we strive to develop in students."
- Through technology enhanced test items, this computer based assessment is said to allow the measurement of important skills students will need for life beyond high school and will be interactive and engaging.
- More information on this new assessment can be found on the Illinois State Board of Education webside at isbe.net/assessment/parcc.htm.

MAP
- Measures fo Academic Progress assessments provide detailed, actionable data about where each student is on their unique learning path.
- It is a computerized adaptive assessment that schools and teachers use to gain valuable knowledge that will help improve student skills in reading, math, language, and sometimes science throughout the school year.
- Also, it adapts to student responses as they take the test (if they answer a question correctly, the test gets more challenging and vice versa).


For more information on these assessments, please visit the following links:

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