In April, the IL State Board of Education had on its agenda an approval of a Request for Proposals for a $227M contract to start on July 1, 2021 to develop and administer a new state test for Illinois. The test would be administered three times a year, not just once, and would cover K-2, not just 3-8th, which is what the federal government requires. The approval vote has been delayed until ISBE's June 16th meeting, but much of the pubic participation at this week's May ISBE meeting was devoted to comments on this RFP. Marty Gartzman spoke on behalf of IL Families for Public Schools.
In April, the IL State Board of Education had an item on its agenda to approve of a Request for Proposals for a contract to start on July 1, 2021 to replace the annual math and reading tests for 3-8th grade (IAR). New interim tests given three times a year and made available for K-2nd grade as well (with the state paying the cost for the schools that chose to test K-2nd grade students.)
To meet federal requirements, Illinois couldn't immediately replace the IAR but would need to pilot this new test until 2024 or 2025. So 20% of IL students would take both the IAR and these new tests until then. The expected cost of the new test is $228M over the next ten years---on top of the cost for the remaining four years of IAR testing.
After IL-FPS and our allies raised questions, the Board's approval vote was delayed until May, and then delayed again. And intense pushback from educators, parents and assessment experts has so far put a pause on the vote. Stakeholder feedback sessions on a new assessment are now being scheduled for October and November, and the Board is scheduled to consider the findings from those sessions in December.
Read more about the new testing system proposal and what you can do about it in our one-pager: 2021 State Testing Update: What you need to Know
And learn about what interim tests are and why they aren't suitable for a high-stakes accountability system in this explainer: Interim tests: What you need to know
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