Monday, March 7, 2011

ISAT Week is Here!

As some of you were surprised to read last year, I look forward to and welcome ISAT week. Of course there are some minor inconveniences to the schedule. And, there certainly are difficulties in conducting regular learning activities in shorter class periods.

However, for any inconveniences we may incur due to ISAT week, it brings with it great opportunity. Our students and teachers work hard all year to learn, grow, and create. ISAT week brings with it the opportunity to show that learning. Our students have the opportunity to prove that as individuals and as a group, we can succeed with kids from all over the state.

I look forward to a great week of giving our kids the chance to show what they know.


  1. Molly Ball-HarrisonMarch 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Everyone will agree it is interesting (and rewarding) to demonstrate what we know. My child and I recently looked at last year's spring ISAT scores (delivered in the subsequent fall) as a touchstone that evoked a conversation about strengths and weaknesses. He ranked high in math and reading and lower on test results in Writing (which by contrast had been my favorite subject at that age). But we noticed too that while he captured the standard (Writing) skills in grammar and spelling (Conventions) and Focused on the main idea, he was not alone in scoring lower on Support/Elaboration, Organization and Integration (effectiveness) categories. The bulk of our kids are struggling in these areas according to the ISATs scores (percentiles).

    The 1997 Il Learning Standards are undergoing revision as the Common Core Standards and when the are adopted they will impact ISAT assessments (in 2014). To see what the new standards evoke as goals (sorted for each age level, and then by subject area) go to and see the links under "Resources" on the right side of the page. Goals (for the appropriate grade)under "Writing" (Marked as "W" in the "Strand" column) will help us see what our kids need to know and help us identify where their weaknesses might be in areas like Supporting claims, and Organizing ideas to improve effectiveness and purpose in writing.

    As accessible forms of social media grow in use, we see the inherent motivation of posting a comment and checking back for responses on our Face Book pages! Technology is increasing publication of our writing these days and even our kids can understand the importance of writing more effectively as an everyday practice, in addition to academic and job related functions. We can help teachers by understanding how curriculum is linked to these Core Standards. At home, we can also reinforce these activities to improve specific writing skills in areas where our students’ performance is challenged.

  2. I thank you for your post. Well said. As educators, we can not control the tools our students and our world uses to find genuine forms of expression and response to ideas.

    As Educators, what we CAN do is recognize modern media and business incarnations and teach our students to succeed in traditional and real-life forums: to support their ideas. Thank you for your input.