Changes to a state test this year could mean Illinois school kids will get lower marks. The Illinois Standards Achievement Test or ISAT is given to school children from third through eighth grades. But when students take the test this spring, they will need to bring their A game. The cut score has been raised, and that means fewer students will be proficient. State Superintendent Christopher Koch says this is the start of bigger changes. Illinois will replace the familiar ISAT test soon as it moves more toward new learning standards:
"Our previous standards were very broad and narrow and the new standards require not just knowledge base, but the application of knowledge,"
But many school leaders are upset over changing the ISAT for a couple of years, rather than waiting for a new test to be developed. Tom Bertrand is Superintendent of the Rochester School District:
"We know right now what the state board is telling us is that a huge percentage of students are going to fail to meet the benchmarks for next year already."
Bertrand calls it part of a larger disconnect involving the state and rules it imposes on districts.
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