Results from a new state test have been released two years after students turned it in, and the budget impasse is getting the blame for the delay.

But some local educators say there’s still plenty to learn from the dated scores about the way they teach.

The Illinois Science Assessment was given to students in 2016. That’s when the state expected schools to have a new curriculum in place based on updated standards for what children should be learning about science.

In Highland District 5, Assistant Superintendent Derek Hacke said the lessons became more hands-on with students, from building things to doing experiments in class.

“We’re trying to do science rather than just read about science,” he said.

Some school officials who saw their students fall short on the assessment said that their curriculum changes either hadn’t hit classrooms by 2016 or that the concepts may have been too new for students to grasp them.

“The two-year-old data will be viewed as a baseline from which to grow,” said Sydney Stigge-Kaufman, spokesperson for East St. Louis District 189. She said schools have since made changes to help students.

The students who are required to take the Illinois Science Assessment each year are in fifth and eighth grades. High school students taking biology for the first time are also tested.

Statewide, an average of 57.5 percent of fifth-graders and 61 percent of eighth-graders in 2016 were considered proficient in science. An average of 40 percent of high school students met the expectations.

More than 90 metro-east schools scored above those averages.

Click here to read the full story in the Belleville News-Democrat (January 26, 2018)

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