State report card shows poor scores

ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- High school juniors, statewide, took the SAT for the first time and the results aren't great.

According to the State Board of Education, two-thirds of students earned below proficient scores on the SAT and PARCC tests.

The results are in and, across the board, students in the state just aren't hitting the mark. Only about one-third scored proficient in math and English portions of the SAT and PARCC exams.

Scores in Central Illinois fell short of the state's average.

"I think the amount of stuff that we have to learn in our lives that the kids are really probably doing the best they can and the teachers, I think, are doing the best they can too."

Jeni Oshwald, a mother of two teens and a former educator, says she's not too concerned. She says the results don't tell the whole story.

"I do understand the frustration the teachers are under, how much they have to do and how much they have to cram in a year, which is a lot."

It's a feeling echoed by some in the Capitol who believe the tests can be burdensom.

"I think the problem with some of the testing we have is there's such a focus on testing and preparing for the test and not so much on education and other things."

But, the tests also reveal some undisputed issues. More than 75% of students on the free lunch program didn't meet SAT standards and, the blatantly inequality is why lawmakers passed a new school formula this fall.

"I don't think it's acceptable where two-thirds are under-proficiency. We need to make sure that kids are ready to go to college and ready to do something else when they graduate from high school and hopefully, over the next few years, we're going to see some gains in that."

Many are counting on it.

"I think, at some point, things will be a little more moderate and everyone will be similar."

At least, that's the plan. On average, students in Central Illinois scored in the 900 range on their SATs.

This year, the state changed from ACT to SAT, giving every 11th grader a free chance at the exam with the hopes of increasing college readiness. Educators blame low test scores on the switch.

There were some highlights in the report card: More students are graduating in four years, more students are keeping their jobs and more 8th graders passed algebra one.


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