The Chicago Tribune reports on new science exams coming to Illinois students this fall. Students in grades 5, 8 and 10 will take new online exams in science that are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The tests come after Illinois State Board of Education got in trouble with the U.S. Department of Education after opting not to test students and instead conduct a pilot of new exams based on the new standards. But not giving exams would violate federal law that requires science exams be given once during grades 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12.

According to University of Illinois at Chicago professor James Pellegrino, co-chair of a national committee on developing assessments for the new standards, “What we’re asking kids to be able to do is to be able to reason more. The questions are likely to be more challenging, but they should be able to deal with them if the instruction is allowed to catch up.”

The state board revealed it is partnering with the Washington, D.C., school district on a science assessment. That district had adopted the new science standards and had done field testing last spring in grades 5 and 8 and in high school biology. According to the article, the district is working on a plan to share test items with Illinois.

Click here to read the article in the Chicago Tribune (August 5, 2015) registration required

Click here to read a companion article that looks at Illinois science concepts, performance expectations

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