Dear District 97 Families,
Each Spring, all District 97 students in Grades 3 to 8 take federally-required assessments to help us understand how they are growing academically. Since 2019, the state has utilized the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) to assess students’ knowledge and skills in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, as well as their progress toward the long-term goal of college and career readiness.
This year, the IAR will be administered to District 97 students April 5-14, following spring break. Your individual teachers and principals will share specific testing dates with you in the coming weeks so that you are aware of the days your child(ren) will be testing.
Federal law—specifically, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—requires each state to give a state achievement test to its students. The law also requires universal participation, defined as at least 95% of a school’s eligible students. All District 97 students in grades 3 to 8 must take the IAR each spring.
The IAR is a computer-based test, and is fully aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards.
Students with significant cognitive disabilities will be administered the Dynamic Learning Maps - Alternative Assessment (DLM-AA). A student’s IEP will indicate if a student is taking the DLM.
Why IAR Is Important
Results from the IAR give parents and families comparable data to understand how their child is progressing and if they are on track for college and career. The test also provides critical data to schools, districts, and the state to ensure that all students have the support they need to thrive and to modify our supports and instruction accordingly.
IAR participation also impacts schools’ overall ratings on the Illinois Report Card. Under the state’s ESSA plan, a school cannot receive the “Exemplary” designation when it has less than 95% eligible student participation for three consecutive years. ESSA also directly incorporates the 95% participation threshold into the calculation of proficiency rates for the purposes of accountability. This proficiency rate impacts schools’ interim progress measurements and summative designations.
Additional Resources for Families
- District 97 IAR Webpage
- 5 Things You Need to Know About IAR
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Impact of Participation in State Assessments - IAR (ISBE)
- FAQ: 95% Participation in State Assessments (ISBE)
Thank you for partnering with us to encourage your student(s) to put forth their best effort during IAR testing. If you have any questions, please contact your building principal.
District 97 Teaching and Learning Department