Standardized testing not true reflection of local students

After more than 40 percent of high school students failed state standardized testing in 2013 and 2014, Illinois issued a new test in 2015.

However, the state superintendent has already sent schools letters explaining that more students have failed the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test.

At Herrin High School, the teachers say they take pride in producing college-ready students.

Principal Terry Ryker says more than 80 percent of last year’s graduates are pursuing college degrees.

"In today’s world you really need to prepare yourself educationally,” said Ryker. “We know we’re producing good quality kids."

However, student success hasn’t translated onto state standardized PARCC tests, which more than 40 percent of Illinois students failed in 2014.

"Basically, you look at that and it says some of these kids aren’t ready for college and careers. And that’s true,” said Ryker. “We still have kids every year, while they say our schools aren’t doing what they should, that go on to college and do extremely well wherever they go."

Ryker says the disappointing results aren’t completely unexpected, because PARCC testing doesn’t count towards student ACT scores like old standardized tests.

"They didn’t know what value it was going to have to them, so some of the kids maybe didn’t try as hard as you hope they would have. So, I don’t know if we’re getting an actual view of what the kids really know," said Ryker.

Due to the poor scores, Ryker says he expects changes to the PARCC test this year. But, due to Illinois budget uncertainty, it’s unclear what those changes might be.

If you are interested to see how your school stacks up on standardized testing, click here.

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