The PSAE, or Prarie State Achievement Examination, is a free offering of the ACT for all juniors in Illinois, but due to budget costs, the state is eliminating the writing portion of the exam.
“Lawmakers reduced our assessment budget to a point where we had to make difficult choices, and by eliminating grade 11 writing components, we believe we will still be able to offer districts the Explore and Plan tests,” said Christopher Koch, state superintendent, in the announcement released by the administration this summer.
Mr. John Bruesch, assistant principal of instruction, is not concerned with the decision. “Many of our students take the test outside of the PSAE offering of the ACT, so it doesn’t affect them immensely. Perhaps the greatest concern, statewide, is the effect this might have on low income students who cannot afford to take the ACT without this free offering. The state does provide waivers for these students, which is considerate of the economic times we currently live in,” Bruesch said.
The announcement assures that this decision does not reflect that the state believes writing is dispensable. Koch explains that the elimination of this exam section will not stop teachers in Illinois from providing good writing instruction and guidance.
Bruesch agrees. “We will continue to offer the same high level of education that we have always offered, and we will always strive to help students in ways that affect test scores but also in wayss that are just good for our students,” Bruesch said.