Data: Fewer Illinois students taking standardized exams

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois saw an increase in the number of students who didn't take the state's standardized exams last school year, but it still met a participation rate of at least 95 percent, according to new state data.

Students who didn't participate were either marked absent or refused to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, exams, which were being given for the first time in Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The tests given in 2014, ISAT and Prairie State, no longer are given statewide. The state is to release the PARCC scores this week.

Students who didn't take the exams range from those attending schools in suburban Chicago to those going to tiny schools elsewhere in Illinois.

The data, which the Tribune obtained through a public records request, show that about 44,000 students didn't take the English Language Arts test last school year and 42,000 didn't take the math test. They make up about 4 percent of the more than 1 million students who took tests last school year, compared to about a half-percent who children who didn't take exams in 2014.

State data show that even though there was an increase in the number of students not taking the tests, most Illinois schools and districts saw nearly all of their students take them, and records show the state as a whole met the 95 percent test participation rate.

The number of students taking the exams is important because state and federal officials have said there could be sanctions if too few students are tested.

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