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2017 Illinois Science Assessment Results Now Available

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2018

  Results fuel conversations about local successes in implementing new science learning standards


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the school-, district-, and state-level aggregate scores for the 2017 Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) on the ISBE website at https://www.isbe.net/ISA. The second year of ISA results provides additional data to help educators and administrators identify local successes in implementing the new Illinois Learning Standards for science. 

The standards took effect in February 2014 and signaled a new era of science instruction. They encourage students to see science all around them. Students in classrooms today use scientific methods and tools to ask questions about phenomena, design experiments, and evaluate real-world sources of information. Educators act as facilitators, rather than lecturers, prompting robust student discussions and guiding students to direct their own learning. Illinois’ standards incorporate the national Next Generation Science Standards.

“The Illinois Science Assessment is one component supporting a high-quality, 21st-century science education,” said State Superintendent Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The new standards represent a shift in how students engage with and how educators teach science. The new standards make science more accessible, opening career and college doors for students. Districts and schools can put the ISA results in conversation with other assessment results and data to identify local successes in implementing the new learning standards and support continuous improvement.”

Districts and schools around the state are making progress toward closing the achievement gap between student demographic groups. The data show where schools and districts are supporting low-income students, English Learners, and students with disabilities in outperforming the state average for their demographic group and for the “all students” group in their grade level. Looking to the promising practices in these districts can inform continuous improvement across the state. Statewide ISA scores decreased slightly from 2016 to 2017. The pattern of performance across grade levels remained consistent. The statewide 2017 ISA results reflect a foundation of mastery in the “all students” groups in the fifth and eighth grades. Results in high school are lower than in the other grades, both in 2016 and in 2017. The statewide participation rate for the 2017 ISA increased from 93.1 percent to 94.4 percent.

The ISA was designed to reflect classroom experiences. The questions ask students to apply scientific knowledge and reasoning to real-world problems. This assessment pushes students to apply their knowledge in their responses, thus better preparing students for postsecondary and a career. The test is untimed, but designed to take approximately one hour. Each student’s score between 200 and 400 correlates to one of two performance levels: Proficient or Not Proficient.

Neither the 2016 nor the 2017 ISA results will count toward accountability for schools and districts. The percentage of students scoring in the Proficient performance level will contribute 5 percent of each school and district’s balanced accountability rating beginning with the 2020 administration.

An FAQ with additional information about the ISA, the performance levels, and the process for scoring the assessment is available at https://www.isbe.net/ISA.

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