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The Purple Clarion

Pearson partnership streamlines Illinois Science Assessment process

Infographic by Kylan Jerrell.

Juniors completed the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) Tuesday, March 19. The Illinois state-required test was taken in Davenport Gym.

It is one of the required tests that students must take before completing high school.

“The Illinois science assessment is a state test that is required for all high school students to graduate in the state of Illinois,” science teacher Janet Hughes said. “It is in conjunction with what currently is the SAT, which tests English Writing, Reading, and Math.”

The test is supposed to provide information about what students have learned in high school.

“The original assumption was that if you got your scores back in the junior year at the end of junior year, that it could be that schools could do some sort of remediation for students that weren’t scoring very well during the scene,” Hughes said.

The Illinois State Board of Education has a set of rules and regulations that state tests must hold, and then organizations such as College Board and, in the case of the ISA, Pearson, help provide services such as development, printing, scoring, and distributing test-taking materials.

“[Pearson] actually does the work of getting the job done,” Hughes said. “Then your school personnel are in charge of organizing how you’re going to pull that off. You have to have a test administrator. You have to have proctors if you have more than one room. So the actual nuts and bolts of getting the test done fall to the individual school district.”

Little was changed with the Pearson takeover. The main differences were that instead of passing out slips of paper and having to wait manually for students to type in their codes, the online form would instead wait for every student to be completed with every section before students could move on.

“This is the first year with Pearson as the new provider,” Hughes said. “So Mrs. Cox was heavily involved in the technology.”

The test, while slightly different from last year, was smooth; there were fewer technological errors, and when they occurred, they were fixed quickly and efficiently.

“Last year when we went around, I remember several people were not online,” Hughes said. “I think Mrs. Cox fixed maybe seven or eight issues very quickly, very easily. And that was it.”

For students who aren’t planning to attend college, the test can still be helpful.

“Science reasoning is not something that everyone is good at,” Hughes said. “So it is reasonable to think that employers would like to know if they have someone who has that skill. So it’s something that a student can use, something that the schools can use, in a different interview in a different fashion.”

Junior Aiden Hale felt positive about the test.

“The test was challenging but I felt prepared when I began,” Hale said. “I feel that the test showed me how much I know about what we learn in our science classes here. I feel it gave me an idea of how the SAT will feel this year. Overall, it seemed like a valid assessment.”

Junior Dalton Brimm seemed to agree but didn’t like certain aspects of the test.

“Well, I wasn’t a big fan of the fact that all students had to finish the test before we could continue and before we could actually leave so that’s like my biggest complaint about it,” Brimm said but added, “Since the SATs coming up in like two weeks, I feel as if [the test] set an example about what we were supposed to expect for the SATs.”

Overall, the test was considered a success.

“There were a very small number of students who have to do makeups and we have enough of our winter left that we should be able to get that done,” Hughes said. “Everyone who started got finished. I think some of them performed very well.”

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Kylan Jerrell
Kylan Jerrell, Staff Writer
Kylan Jerrell is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is his first year working as an Purple Clarion staff member. He participates in the school band, playing the trombone for the concert, jazz, and marching band. He is also an active member in Key Club, History Club, Music Club and Book Club. He is passionate about literature, writing, and music.  Kylan spends his free time reading, writing short stories and poetry, practicing his instrument and listening to a wide variety of music. He plans on attending school to study both music and literature.  “Student journalism gives a voice to students, both as writers and participants in school activities. It is an essential part of the ‘High School Experience’.”

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