For the twelfth consecutive year, CPS has steady progress on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) – a particularly significant accomplishment in 2013, as performance standards for the exam were markedly higher than in previous years.
Earlier this year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) raised the bar for the ISAT by aligning 20 percent of questions with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) – a more rigorous curriculum being implemented in school districts nationwide, including CPS. Despite the added challenge, students increased their Meets and Exceeds (M/E) composite scores by 1.8 percent, with 65 percent of all elementary schools achieving positive growth. And every grade level—3rd through 8th grade—saw positive growth across all subjects.
"The continued progress being made on the part of our students is encouraging, "said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. "Our school community faced a number of changes and challenges this past school year, including the strike, a lengthy community process around our utilization crisis, and the implementation of both the Full School Day and Common Core curriculum. Our educators and school leaders deserve tremendous thanks for their commitment and dedication to their students and their learning during this time."
Aligning the ISAT with Common Core makes it easier to assess if students are on a path to college and career readiness. The curriculum serves as an academic roadmap – one that builds competencies in literacy and math and describes what students should be learning at each grade level. It also helps develop the critical thinking skills that will better prepare students for success in college and career.
Along with Common Core, the 2012-13 school year saw the implementation of the Full School Day, which has already had a positive impact on ISAT scores, particularly for those 11 schools that pioneered the program beginning in 2011. Over the past two years, students at these schools tripled their Meets and Exceeds composite scores each year– evidence that increasing the school day from 5.45 to 7.5 hours helps boost academic growth.
Click here to review school-by-school data from the 2013 ISAT.