Illinois Science Assessment (ISA)

What is the purpose of the ISA?

  • In compliance with federal testing requirements, Illinois administers a science assessment to all students enrolled in a public school district in grades 5, 8 and 11.

  • The ISA represents Illinois’ commitment to preparing all students for college and careers, including in the high-demand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

  • The results of the ISA can provide administrators with important data to help them make broad curriculum decisions for science at the school and district levels.

Who takes the ISA each spring?

  • ​All students identified as juniors (11th graders) are automatically registered for the ISA in compliance with state testing requirements.

  • The ISA is administered to juniors on a district-selected date in March or April, typically the day after the SAT.

What is the format of the ISA?

  • The ISA is administered in an online format that students will access in person using their Chromebook with a test-specific app.

  • There are three sections of the ISA, including passages about life science, physical sciences, and Earth and spaces sciences. 

  • On average, student time-on-task is estimated at 120 minutes total for this assessment. 

  • The assessment uses a passage that may include informative text, images or data sets, followed by a variety of selected response questions (I.e., multiple choice) and short

    response questions. 

  • The ISA questions challenge students to apply their knowledge when they give answers, rather than recall facts.

What content and skills does the ISA cover?

  • In 2014, Illinois adopted the Illinois Learning Standards for Science incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to which the ISA is aligned.

  • The ISA is designed to reflect classroom experiences. Many students who took the assessment in the past have said the ISA seemed more like instruction than a traditional test.  

How can students prepare for the ISA?

For any questions regarding the ISA test, please contact Deanna Mazanek, Science Department Chair.