Education A National Roundup

Chicago Schools Scrap Iowa Exams in Favor of Diagnostic Tests

By Ann Bradley — August 30, 2005 1 min read

The Chicago school system is jettisoning the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills in favor of low-stakes reading assessments designed to give teachers more immediate feedback on students’ progress.

Arne Duncan, the chief executive officer of the city schools, and Mayor Richard M. Daley announced the change on Aug. 19 in a joint address to the city’s administrators.

The new assessments, Stanford Learning First, are aligned to the standards measured by the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. They will be given in October, January, and May to students who will take the state test, and teachers will receive the results within two weeks, enabling them to better monitor students’ progress.

The assessments are solely to be used for diagnostic purposes and will not affect schools’ accountability ratings or promotion decisions for students. Instead, promotion after grades 3, 6, and 8 will depend on students’ performance on the state test and other criteria.

The 430,000-student district will share results from the assessments with parents, Mr. Duncan said, beginning with the January tests.