A year after Illinois scrapped its writing assessment because of budget constraints, the legislature has voted to reinstate the test and provide the nearly $2 million needed to do so.
Under the legislation, which Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat, signed on June 22, students in grades 5, 8, and 11 will be required to take the writing test beginning in the 2006-07 school year. The test will expand to the 6th grade the next school year, followed by 3rd grade in 2008-09.
The writing assessment had been cut for the 2004-05 school year against the advice of state education leaders. The state’s reading, mathematics, and science assessments had been left intact, as required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Lawmakers also increased graduation requirements, adding an additional year of English, mathematics, and science, and two writing courses to earn a diploma.