Severe winter weather has affected how students and teachers at District 117 are preparing for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.
District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says the ISAT is scheduled to start March 3rd, but the cold and snow has forced school to be called off six days this year.
“We didn’t lose just the six days of instruction,” says Ptacek. “Every time you have an extended two or three days off that first day back is pretty much gone just on re-hashing what you did before you [left]. We might have technically lost six days of instruction, but I think it effected, more equivalently, nine or ten days of instruction.”
Ptacek says, fortunately, it’s not just Jacksonville dealing with the brutal winter.
“That is a statewide issue because this weather has affected schools throughout the state,” says Ptacek. “We did get an e-mail from the Illinois State Board [of Education] for the ISATs that they’re going to be extending the testing window. I can’t discuss more about exactly how we’re going to address that yet. We should getting more out somewhat soon about how we’re going to adapt to that.”
Teachers are now trying to get kids back into the routine of being at school after having so many days off. They’re handing out practice tests and working on test-taking time management.
But this year is different. Not just because of the winter weather, but because Common Core standards have now been implemented into the ISATs, making the test a bit different. The change is meant to help schools transition more seamlessly from the ISATs to the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. That’s a whole new test.
The ISATs assess a student’s ability at reading and math. Fourth and seventh graders are also be tested in science.