State investigates 'irregularities' on ISAT tests
The state says “testing irregularities” occurred last spring at seven Illinois elementary schools when students took state standardized ISAT tests.
Those cases, along with 26 others dating back to 2005, are being investigated by the Illinois State Board of Education.
The news comes as the state continues a major cheating investigation. It’s conducting an “erasure analysis” on every student answer sheet from the ISAT tests kids took last spring. In other states, such analyses have turned up evidence of adults changing answers and improperly helping children.
ISAT exams are taken by third through eighth grade public school students in the state.
In addition to the erasure analysis, the state says districts themselves occasionally report test irregularities. For the first time, the state is revealing the names of 33 schools that have reported such irregularities since 2005.
State board spokeswoman Mary Fergus says self-reported irregularities might include allowing children more time on a test, reading questions to students or allowing them to open their test booklets before the appointed hour.
“We wouldn’t call this cheating just yet. We’re still reviewing what happened,” said Fergus.
Forest Park superintendent Lou Cavallo said his district “did the right thing” when it discovered a fifth grade teacher had encouraged her students to carefully “look over” their answers after she noticed they’d made incorrect choices on the test.
“A teacher was encouraging students to look back over answers,” said Cavallo. “Not giving any answers—not cheating and saying, ‘That is wrong—change it to this.’ Nothing like that, but to look over answers.”
Still, that didn’t sound right to one of the fifth graders, who reported it to a parent. The parent reported it to the school.
ISAT results for the specific classrooms under investigation are being suppressed. Affected students receive a student ISAT report that says “NA” for “not available.”
Districts from across the state reported the irregularities. The state says it does not yet have a timeline for finishing its larger cheating investigation. “This is our first time doing this kind of a thorough review,” said Fergus. “It’s an ongoing, evolving process.”
Districts that have reported “testing irregularities” to the state, 2005-2011
|Year of test||School||District/City||Affected grades|
|2011||Lombard Middle School||Galesburg CUSD 205, Galesburg||6th grade reading and math|
|2011||Churchill Junior High||Galesburg CUSD 205, Galesburg||7th grade reading|
|2011||Bright Elementary School||Chicago Public Schools||4th grade reading, math, science|
|2011||Greenbrook Elementary||Keeneyville Elementary SD20, Hanover Park||3rd and 4th grade reading|
|2011||Grant-White School||Forest Park SD91, Forest Park||5th grade math|
|2011||Silver Creek Elementary||Triad CUSD 2, Troy||4th grade reading and science|
|2011||Knoxville Junior High||Knoxville CUSD 202, Knoxville||IAA (special needs)|
|2010||Clinton Junior High||Clinton CUSD 15, Clinton||8th grade math|
|2010||Chester Grade School||Chester CUSD 139, Chester||4th grade math|
|2010||Marion Junior High||Marion CUSD 2, Marion||6th grade reading|
|2010||Cook Elementary||Chicago Public Schools||4th grade math|
|2010||Robinson Elementary||Chicago Public Schools||3rd grade reading, math, writing|
|2010||Daley Elementary||Chicago Public Schools||8th grade reading, math, writing|
|2009||Lincoln Junior High||Skokie SD69, Skokie||8th grade reading|
|2009||Williamsfield Elementary||Williamsfield CUSD 210, Williamsfield||3rd grade reading, math, writing|
|2009||Hartsburg-Emden Junior/Senior High||Hartsburg-Emden CUSD 21, Hartsburg||5th grade reading and writing, 6th grade writing|
|2009||Paw Paw Elementary, Paw Paw||Paw Paw CUSD 271||6th grade math and writing|
|2008||Krug Elementary||Aurora East USD 131, Aurora||3rd, 4th, 5th reading and math|
|2008||Illinois Elementary||Matteson SD162, Matteson||7th and 8th grade math|
|2008||Shiloh Middle School||Shiloh Village SD85, Shiloh||5th grade math|
|2008||Carolyn Wenz Elementary||Paris Union SD 95, Paris||4th grade math|
|2008||Little Village Academy||Chicago Public Schools||3rd grade reading and math|
|2007||National Teachers Academy||Chicago Public Schools||7th grade math|
|2007||Piccolo Specialty School||Chicago Public Schools||3rd grade reading|
|2007||Cotton Creek School||Wauconda CUSD 118, Wauconda||3rd grade math|
|2007||Jefferson Junior High||Naperville CUSD 203, Naperville||7th grade math|
|2007||Eastlawn Elementary School||Paxton-Buckley-Loda Unit #10, Paxton||4th grade reading and math|
|2006||Alcott Elementary||Chicago Public Schools||7th grade science|
|2006||Franklin Middle School||Springfield SD 186, Springfield||7th grade science|
|2005||Anne M. Jeans||Burr Ridge CCSD 180, Burr Ridge||3rd grade reading|
|2005||Mill Creek Elementary||Geneva CUSD 304, Geneva||3rd grade math|
|2005||Lathrop Academy||Chicago Public Schools||7th science|
|2005||Freeport Junior High||Freeport SD145, Freeport||8th grade math|