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The Illinois State Board of Education is “re-equating and rescoring” the 2008 Illinois Standard Achievement Tests (ISATs), says State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch in messages posted on the State Board’s website. He said the State Board noticed “unanticipated results” and “unanticipated shifts” when reviewing the original 2008 ISAT results. “There have been both noticeable increases and noticeable decreases in scores, depending on the grade being analyzed,” he says.

The State Board had its testing contractor, Pearson Education, and an independent consulting firm review the results, said Mr. Koch. “We have determined that we could obtain more accurate results. As a result, I have asked Pearson to move forward with re-equating and rescoring using a more appropriate process.”

Matt Vanover, spokesperson for the State Board of Education, told the RoundTable that flaws in the scoring arose in scoring the questions from the Sanford 10, a nationally normed test. He said three years ago, the State began to include questions from the Sanford 10 on the ISATs, in addition to questions which are specifically based on the Illinois learning standards. Including questions from the Sanford 10 enables the State and school districts to compare how students are doing in comparison to other students throughout the nation.

Mr. Vanover said the Sanford 10 questions on 2008 ISATs differed from those on the 2007 ISATs, and as part of the scoring process, the State attempted to equate the difficulty of the Sanford 10 questions on the 2008 ISATs with the Sanford 10 questions on the 2007 ISATs. He said, “The standard equating process we used was not able to account for the differences between the 2007 and 2008 ISATs. We saw fluctuations outside the norm.”

He said a new equating methodology is being used, and the 2008 ISATs are being rescored. The new scores will be sent to school districts within the next few weeks, he said.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...