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Test Review: ISBE Wants Exams Aligned


The Illinois State Board of Education has decided to review the slate of standardized tests students take, to try to make sure the exams align with each other.

Currently, kindergarteners are evaluated by one test, then elementary students with another, and high school juniors with a third. All those tests measure different concepts, making it difficult to see where the curriculum needs to be improved. 

Amanda Elliott, legislative affairs director with the state board, says the current system causes many districts to implement additional tests.

“So the state right now administers assessments at three different times throughout a child’s education, and there really isn’t consistency in the assessments that we’re administering. So we’re looking to move towards a system that’s consistent from preschool through high school,” she says. “We have these state assessments given at multiple times throughout a student’s education, but then districts are also implementing their own assessments. I think that many people in this state feel like they’re just being over tested.” 

She says a more aligned system would mean districts don’t have to add their own assessments, and could ultimately result in students being given fewer standardized tests.

Carmen Ayala, the newly-appointed state superintendent of schools, performed a similar review in the Berwyn North district when she was superintendent there. That review brought about changes that resulted in higher test scores.


After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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