Testing starts next week 

11th grade students will take the PSAE exam on April 22-April 23.

April 13, 2009

Next week 11th grade high school students will begin taking the Illinois Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE). The test will be administered on April 22 and April 23 at all CPS high schools. This two-day exam is required for graduation from the Chicago Public Schools. 


The PSAE measures the achievement of 11th grade students in reading, math, science, and writing. PSAE results are used for district, state, and federal accountability purposes. ACT scores obtained by students through PSAE testing may also be used for college applications. 


The PSAE includes three components:


  • The ACT Plus Writing test includes the ACT battery of four multiple-choice tests (English, math, reading, and science), and a 30-minute constructed-response writing test with a single prompt question.
  • A science assessment developed by the Illinois State Board of Education.
  • Applied Mathematics and Reading for Information WorkKeys assessments.


The WorkKeys assessments are designed to measure students’ abilities to perform tasks similar to those they might find in an employment situation. For example, instead of testing students on how they can read and comprehend literary stories, the Reading for Information test asks students to respond to readings that they may encounter in the workplace. 


There are new accommodations available for English Language Learner students this year to help them better be able to access test material. Audio versions of the test will be available in Spanish. Students may also be exempt from parts of the assessment (i.e. writing or reading) depending on their program year.


Test-taking tips


Last-minute “cramming” for the PSAE won’t help. You can help your child do his or her best on the test by:


  • Having your child try sample problems before taking the test. This way your child will know what to expect before he or she takes the actual test. You can view sample problems for writing, math, and reading on the ACT website.
  • Talking with your child’s principal or teacher about the test. They are the best resource for information about the PSAE.
  • Making sure your child attends school on the days of testing and arrives at school promptly.
  • Making sure your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before testing.
  • Taking advantage of complimentary breakfasts, if offered at your child’s school, on the mornings of testing.
  • Encouraging your child to ask the teacher questions if he or she doesn’t understand the test directions.
  • Letting your child know that you have confidence in his or her ability to do his or her best.
  • Trying to keep distractions and disruptions at home to a minimum.


For more information contact your child’s school or visit the Illinois State Board of Education website.