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What Educators Need to Know About the New Illinois Assessments of Readiness

What Educators Need to Know About the New Illinois Assessments of Readiness

If there’s one thing we know that is constant, it’s change. And we don’t have to tell you, Illinois educators, you’re in the midst of a big change when it comes to the Illinois state assessments. Starting from the beginning, here were the hopes the Illinois Department of Education laid out to outline the evolution of the state assessment.

​“With the adoption of the new Illinois Learning Standards incorporating the Common Core, the state has retired many of its old tests and replaced them with new, innovative assessments that will provide educators with reliable data to help guide instruction.  Often aided by technological advances, these assessments will allow for students to better showcase their skills compared to the old, multiple-choice format.”

The flexibility of online assessments aligns with broader ESSA goals to shift focus from content knowledge to more holistic learning and development of skills like critical thinking and communication. However, making the transition to these kind of assessments is easier said than done. Here’s a timeline of what the state has accomplished so far in its process to roll out new student assessments:

February 7, 2018—Official announcement was released by the State Superintendent of Education.

February 14, 2018--Procurement process kick-off.

September, 2018—Development and administration of the new Illinois Assessment of Readiness for English language arts and math in grades three through eight awarded to Data Recognition Corporation (DRC).

March 4 – April 26, 2019 (Projected)—Window for first administration of new Illinois state assessments

Per the contract awarded by the ISBE, DRC is committed to, “Provide a computer adaptive assessment that returns results of machine scored items within 1 week of the end of the testing window, and all results within 30 days of the end of the testing window, making results more timely and relevant.” In addition, DRC will lead the development of a Spanish native language assessment of mathematics, providing greater and more accessible opportunities for all students to demonstrate what they know and can do. However, despite changes in format, the test delivered by DRC in this spring of 2019 will have much in common with the assessment from the past four years. Most importantly, rigor and alignment to the Illinois Learning Standards will remain the priority.

For Illinois educators, the first administration of new assessments from DRC will make this spring of 2019 a time of plenty of change—and probably more than a little stress. At Edmentum, we’re committed to riding the waves of these changes with you and prioritize alignment to all state standards. Our in-house Curriculum team works hard on an ongoing basis to ensure that our Courseware and assessment programs remain tightly aligned to the Illinois Learning standards so that they continue to be effective tools to prepare students for the new Illinois Assessments of Readiness. Furthermore, Study Island’s extensive library of high-quality multiple choice and technology-enhanced items, developed using Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) guidelines, offer targeted practice, built-in student tools, immediate student feedback, and automatic remediation to provide meaningful practice for Illinois students.

Are you and your students ready for the roll out of new Illinois state assessments? Check out this series of live webinars hosted by the Illinois State Board of Education, beginning in mid-December and lasting throughout February, for all the latest updates on the new assessments as well as an open forum for test coordinators, administrators, and technology staff to ask questions and voice concerns about testing.

Interested in learning more about how Edmentum’s online programs can support Illinois educators’ and students’ test preparation efforts? Check out our library of online courses aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards and Study Island practice programs built for Illinois assessments.