The test is being phased out and will no longer be used to measure a student's progress when attempting to enroll in certain schools.
Just as this horrible winter winds down, in March it's ISAT time for Illinois public school students. For several days, elementary students will be doing nothing but taking the standardized tests.
"This is a worthless test, the state is junking it next year," said Jesse Sharkey, VP, Chicago Teachers Union.
Because the state is moving onto a new statewide test next year, CPS has chosen not to use the ISATs this year for teacher, principal or school evaluations. In addition, the ISATs will not be required for selective enrollment high school applications. Instead, NWEA tests will be used to measure student and school progress. Many parents don't understand why their kids are required to take the ISATs.
"We are still spending two weeks on a test that is not going to be used for any instructional purpose and not for any administrative purpose," said Cassie Cresswell, parent.
Cresswell is part of a parent group called More Than a Score. This week the organization has started an online petition encouraging parents to opt out of the ISATs, something the teachers union supports. But Chicago Public Schools officials say the ISATs are important. While the tests are no longer used for evaluations, CPS says they will be used internally to see if students are responding to the common core curriculum. Most importantly, CPS says ISATs are required by the federal government.
"WhiIe the ISAT is not tied to any district accountability, it is tied to No Child Left Behind," said John Barker, CPS chief accountability officer.
CPS says if the tests are scrapped this year, the district's federal funding would be in jeopardy.