Final results of the 2006 Illinois State Assessment Tests (ISATs), which were administered last March, won’t be available to the state’s elementary schools until Feb. 28, the State Board of Education said last Friday.

Full results for individual elementary school students were made available last Friday on the State Board of Education website, but are embargoed from publication until Feb. 28. A state official said results for the high school ISATs will take even longer to release. That will delay the issuance of final school, district and state report cards, which rely on high school data, said State Board of Education spokesperson Becky Watts.

“We can’t do statewide data until we have the high school data,” she said.

“We don’t have any kind of state survey results,” District 90 Supt. Marlene Kamm said Tuesday. Kamm said her office received scores for individual district students, as well as results needed to assess the school’s Adequate Yearly Progress mandated under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. But there have been no school report cards, which provide summaries that allow school officials and parents to compare their performance on the 2006 tests with other school districts statewide.

“I don’t have a clue what we did versus [some other school district],” Kamm said. “If you’re a high-achieving district, it’s probably no big deal,” she added, noting that 90 percent of her district’s students meet or exceed state standards.

Watts said Tuesday that the delays stem from scoring problems experienced by the testing firm, Harcourt Brace, which designed and printed last year’s tests. While Harcourt experienced wide-ranging and well-publicized problems getting testing material out to schools last spring, Watts said the current problems are unrelated.

“[Harcourt] encountered a multitude of process problems on their end,” said Watts. The state has been busy, she added, working with Harcourt to assure that all data related to the 2006 testing is accurate.

In the meantime, Dist. 90 officials are preparing to administer the 2007 ISATs starting March 12.

“We’ll certainly be testing if they get here,” Kamm said.

While Watts said she couldn’t guarantee future problems, she said they won’t be the fault of Harcourt Brace. The state fired the firm recently.

“We cancelled their contract for the bulk of the work in successive years,” she said. Pearson Educational Measurement will assume responsibility for all printing, distribution, scoring and reporting of the tests for the remaining two years of the contract.

Ironically, the actual test content and the design of the materials Harcourt created drew “high praise” from many school districts, Watts said.

CONACT: bdwyer@wjinc.com

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