Villa Grove to be pilot site for school testing program
VILLA GROVE — The school district has been chosen as a pilot school for the new Partnership Assessment Readiness for College and Career testing program.
The test will be replacing the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, better known as ISAT, for grades 3 through 11 starting next year. Villa Grove has been chosen as a pilot site for grades 5, 7 and 9 this year. Testing will begin with the first round in March.
"It may take two-three years for students to get used to (the new test). It is a totally different test," said school guidance counselor Caleb Sims. One purpose of the new test is to try to limit the number of students that need to take remedial classes when they start college.
Cross-categorical teacher Karla Westray said she is pleased with the accessibility and accommodations that are included in the testing process with PARCC.
"They are looking at the needs of all kids, not just those with an IEP (individualized education plan) or 504 (special education) plan."
The PARCC is a computer-based test and requires a certain level of technology support to administer the test. Thanks to a recent upgrade of the district's technology network and computer hardware, the district is sufficiently prepared to undertake the pilot round of testing.
However, Superintendent Mary Ann Manos said some challenges regarding available computer time, keyboarding skills for younger students and providing accommodations will need to be addressed before the full requirement for the PARCC test is needs to be in place next year.
"It is a seismic shift in testing," said Manos.