PSAE testing arrives, measures progress

By Brian Park
Staff Writer
The Prairie State Achievement Examination(PSAE) will be administered to juniors on April 24-25. Students must take this in order to receive a high school diploma when they graduate. Freshmen will take the PLAN and sophomores will take a retired ACT on the first day of testing.

   An ACT assessment test will be given to juniors on the first day. On the second day, they will be given two ACT-developed WorkKeys tests on subjects of reading and mathematics, along with a 40 question science test developed by the Illinois State Board of Education. Both days are weighed equally, according to assessment supervisor Jo Holtby.

    “The juniors think that the ACT is so important,” Holtby said. “It’s really important for the juniors to be able to perform well on both day one and day two. They should take it just as seriously.”

    Students should only bring sharpened wooden pencils, a calculator, and their school ID to their assigned rooms, which can be found on the lists posted on hallways. Tests may be voided if the rules are not followed accordingly.
According to Holtby, the PSAE measures how every junior student performs to the Illinois learning standards, showing how much they progressed. Additionally, students should realize that these scores will be the only scores on their high school transcript.
Even though this is not a pass-fail exam, students can either exceed state standards, meet state standards, be below state standards, or at academic warning. About 75 or 80 percent of juniors exceed or meet state standards, according to Holtby.
“We’re looking at their performance levels,” Holtby said. “It doesn’t mean if the kids don’t hit the meet or exceed they still won’t be able to graduate.”
While students can expect to receive their ACT score by mail within the next six weeks after the test, they will have to wait until the start of the next school year to receive their PSAE score. The PSAE score will be the combination of scores from both days.
If students exceed state standards in one or more areas on the test, they are eligible to  receive a Prairie State Achievement Award, according to Holtby. This will happen in Sept. or Oct.
“It is important that the kids try their hardest on both days,” Holtby said.