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Illinois gets new vendor for ISATs

The ISATs last year went out late to many districts (KWMU file photo)
The ISATs last year went out late to many districts (KWMU file photo)

By Jay Field, IL Public Radio, AP

Chicago, Ill. – llinois is putting delivery of the state achievement test for elementary school students back in familiar hands.

Pearson Education Measurement will resume the role it performed, before the state signed a contract in 2004 with Harcourt Assesment.

This past spring, Harcourt failed to get the ISAT test to elementary schools on time, resulting in classroom chaos across the state.

Jesse Ruiz, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, says he's reasonably confident there won't be a repeat of this year's debacle.

Pearson's contract with the state will pay the company as much as $33 million over the next two years. The state will also pay Harcourt just under $4 million a year--for the next two years--to continue developing the content of the exam.

Meanwhile, the board says school districts are missing the results of a standardized exam taken by high school juniors, called the Prairie State Achievement Exam. Harcourt administered that test, as well, which also caused delays with an exam given to younger students around the state.

A spokeswoman for the education board said school districts would normally have the results of the Prairie State exam by now. ISBE officials say Harcourt is having trouble maneuvering the massive amounts of data.

Officials won't give a date for when they hope to have the Prairie State exam scores to school districts, but they say it likely won't be this month.

A different company has been awarded a contract to administer the Prairie State exam next year.