CHICAGO — Illinois third through eighth graders will be given a new, shorter standardized test called the Illinois Assessment of Readiness this month instead of the widely criticized PARCC exam, state officials said.
The new test, also known as the IAR, is about a third shorter than the PARCC exam and will have other significant differences, including a shorter wait for results, more locally created questions, a computer adaptive test model customized for each student and adjustments to how the test is translated for non-native English speakers, state Board of Education spokeswoman Jackie Matthews told the Chicago Tribune.
Although schools will begin administering the new test this month, those changes will be rolled out starting next year through 2022, she said.
The PARCC exam, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, launched in 2015 and was met with criticism from school administrators and parents, who said it was too long and too difficult. That led to an opt-out movement among parents that kept some students from taking it.
Chicago Public Schools also resisted PARCC testing in 2015 and got into a standoff with the state, which threatened to withhold millions of dollars in funding. The district ultimately relented.
PARCC was pulled from high schools in favor of a state-funded SAT college entrance exam. The test remained at elementary and middle schools until now.
Local administrators’ criticisms were considered when designing the new test, Matthews said.
One local administrator said he’s glad to hear about the testing changes but are remaining guarded as they await them.
“We won’t know until we see it,” said Glenn Wood, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202. “We’re hoping the test is more aligned to the standards than PARCC.”