The burden of annual summative testing in Illinois isn’t what it used to be. With the state’s 2019 departure from PARCC tests to the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) tests, state test lengths were cut down by about a third.
“The changes include a quicker turnaround on results, a computer adaptive test model customized to each student, more locally created questions, and adjustments to how the test is translated for students whose native language is not English,” the Chicago Tribune wrote at the time of the change.
But even with these changes, IAR tests still require preparation from students and educators. And the tests’ unique virtual format means students need technological know-how as much as subject matter knowledge.
Here’s what you should know about Illinois state testing, IAR, and how virtual practice tests can help your students achieve testing success.
What is IAR?
The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) is a state system of testing implemented in 2019 to replace the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests. IAR tests assess the New Illinois Learning Standards, which incorporate the Common Core, and tests students in English language arts and math starting in grade 3.
Along with IAR, Illinois also administers the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA). ISA is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards for Science, which incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards. IAR and ISA tests are administered online, though paper accommodations are available for qualifying students.
The subjects and grade levels tested by IAR and ISA tests are as follows:
- English language arts/literacy (grades 3–8)
- Mathematics (grades 3–8)
- Science (grades 5, 8, and 11)
High school students take various PSATs and the SAT as their annual accountability assessments:
- Grade 9: PSAT 8/9
- Grade 10: PSAT 10
- Grade 11: SAT
Some grade 12 students will also be required to take the SAT with Essay.
Illinois students with significant cognitive disabilities may qualify to take the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment (DLM-AA) instead of the standard IAR, ISA, and SAT tests. DLM-AA covers the same subjects and grade levels as the other tests and is administered online.
English language learners take the ACCESS for ELLs as the assessment for their English language proficiency. ACCESS for ELLs is administered to every grade level starting in Kindergarten. Students can test out by scoring high enough to demonstrate proficiency.
The testing windows for IAR and other Illinois assessments are as follows:
The 2022-2023 testing windows are as follows:
- Online: March 6–April 21, 2023
- Paper: March 6–April 7, 2023
- ISA: March 1–April 28, 2023
- PSAT 8/9: April 12–28, 2023
- PSAT 10: April 12–28, 2023
- Primary test date: April 12, 2023
- Accommodated testing window: April 12–25, 2023
- DLM-AA: March 15–May 10, 2023
- ACCESS for ELLs: January 11–February 28, 2023
How to Use IAR Practice Tests to Prep Your Students
IAR tests aren’t as long as PARCC tests used to be — but they still require digital test-taking skills. This is where IAR practice tests come in. With a few practice test sessions, your students can learn the ins and outs of the virtual testing system while honing their keyboarding skills and learning how to manipulate various digital test tools.
From drag-and-drop and dropdown to graph building and equation creation, your students will be ready for whatever the IAR throws their way. Not only that, but the IAR practice test sessions will also bolster their confidence: they’ll have the skills and the knowledge that they have the skills to ace the test. (We know having you as their teacher means they already know the content matter inside out.)
If you give these practice sessions through Edulastic, you’ll get an extra benefit: insight into what learning standards and question types your students are struggling with. We have a whole database of questions tied to specific learning standards — yes, Illinois Learning Standards are in the system! — You can search for questions that match the standards you want to check, create your low-stakes assessment, and administer it to your students. Then, watch as their answers come in and find out what you should spend more class time targeting.
IAR Test Prep Is Easy in Edulastic
Edulastic wants to make IAR test prep as easy for you and your students as possible. That’s why we’re offering free Edulastic accounts that let you administer practice tests and determine how your students on standards and skills IAR will assess.
Ready to get started?