• IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness (formerly PARCC)
Each year, all Illinois public schools are required to administer state assessments like the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) and the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) to its students. Although the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has asked the United States Department of Education to waive this requirement due to the impact of COVID-19, a waiver has not yet been offered. As such, ISBE has instructed school districts to begin preparing to administer the IAR to its students in grades 3 - 8 and the ISA to students in grades 5 and 8. ISBE has also indicated that ALL students will be asked to complete the IAR and ISA in person at their school. At present, District 15 has set its testing window to start on April 12 and continue through May 15. Will will continue to monitor ISBE’s progress with seeking this waiver and will provide you with any updates.
The Illinois State Board of Education requires all Illinois public school students in Grades 3-8 to participate in state-administered testing in reading and math. The current Illinois state achievement test is called the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR). The IAR test measures a student’s general Math and English/Language Arts skills. The Illinois State Board of Education has created a short introduction to the IAR.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
What happened to the PARCC exam?
The Illinois Assessment of Readiness replaced the PARCC exam in 2019. The IAR uses the same test content and format as the PARCC exam. As such, students that took the PARCC exam in the past will not notice any tests differences this year. This will also allow districts to track their year-to-year student performance.
What is the Illinois Assessment of Readiness?
The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) is the Illinois state achievement test. All public school students in grades 3 to 8 must take the IAR. The IAR is given every Spring (you can view the specific adminstration dates for the IAR on the District’s standardized testing schedule). District 15 typically schedules the IAR in early March. The IAR fully aligned with the Common Core State Standards uses the same test questions from is predecessor, the PARCC exam. The IAR is taken on a computer and is designed to provide information about student progress toward the long-term goal of college and career readiness.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has a section of its website devoted to the IAR. You can access the ISBE website clicking ISBE IAR Resources.
The National PTA has also posted information for parents about state assessments on its website.
What does the IAR test look like?
The IAR uses the same test items and questions as its predecessor, the PARCC exam, including practice tests that mirror the actual student tests. Please note that students take a Math and an English/Language Arts version of the IAR.
Is IAR testing mandated?
Yes. Also, the State Superintendent of Schools has clearly stated that there is no option for parents to stop their child from participating in state achievement testing with the IAR. School districts must administer the IAR assessments and low participation rates may affect a school’s overall accountability score on the Illinois School Report Card. Federal law—specifically, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), requires each state to give a state achievement test to its students. A district cannot provide an options that allows students to opt out of the IAR. To provide clarity on this matter, the Illinois State Board of Education has written this participation notice for parents.
How can parents help to prepare their children for the IAR test?
The IAR/PARCC website offers some suggestions to parents:
- Read a combination of fiction and non-fiction aloud or with your child. Look for subjects of interest—from sports heroes to dinosaurs.
- Discuss and “do” real-life math with your child. Help him/her know basic math facts.
- Discuss the new tests with your child. Make sure he/she is not scared or anxious going into the new tests.
- Explain to your child that the tests will initially be more challenging. Tell your child to do his/her best on the test and that you are there to help every step of the way.
- After the test, review the results with your child. Bring the teacher into the discussion as needed.
- Provide a quiet, comfortable place for studying at home and make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast before a test.
- Above all, be positive and encouraging about the tests.