The Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) was administered to grades 5, 8, and 11 in Naperville 203 schools on March 9. Prior to school closures due to COVID-19 concerns, the test was scheduled to be administered at all Illinois schools between March 2 and April 30.
Prior to this year, only students enrolled in a biology class at Naperville Central were required by the state to complete a similar assessment that only tested on biological sciences. This year, however, all juniors at the school were required to take a new version of the test, which was a more comprehensive science test and included earth and space science as well.
The test, like the test prior, was administered completely through Chromebooks. It was divided up into three sets of questions (biology, earth science, space science), with 32 questions in each set. Unique to this test was the fact that students were allotted an unlimited amount of time for each section. The whole test room was instructed to wait until everyone was finished to move on to the next section.
While some students enjoyed the liberty of taking all the time they needed, others found it frustrating.
“The test wasn’t anything too complicated, but I disliked how we had to wait until everyone was done to move onto the next section,” junior Megha Ravishankar said. “People who finished very fast had to wait forever, and it felt like a waste of time.”
Scores will be sent home with students in late September and as Assistant Principal Jackie Thornton explains, the test will serve as an “accountability measure” for schools in the state. Results will be considered in the district’s state ranking along with other factors including SAT scores, attendance, graduation rates, etc. The state assesses school rank and determines if measures such as an improvement plan are necessary for individual schools. In the past Naperville Central has received the “exemplary” status from the state in terms of student performance.
Thornton explained that she believes these tests are of great value to assess our school and district and appreciates student’s efforts in taking these standardized tests.
“Because it is an accountability assessment, we want kids to take it seriously, and we want them to put forth their best effort and have that test be an accurate representation of what you know and are able to do in science,” Thornton said.