The ISAT Test

Learn the requirements of the ISAT for third, fifth and eighth grade students and what parents can do to help their children prepare for the test.

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The Illinois Standards Achievement Test is a great tool for teachers, parents, and even students. The ISAT test results show how students are learning and performing in the Illinois school environment. State law requires all third, fifth, and eighth graders to take the ISAT in reading, writing, and mathematics. Fourth and seventh grade students are additionally required to complete the science and social science ISAT tests. A physical development/ health and fine arts test may also be administered to ninth or tenth grade students but this is voluntary for each school.

Why the ISAT?

A student's ISAT results help teachers and parents understand that child's strengths and weaknesses in the various subjects. Once the weak spots are identified, parents and teachers can seek ways to help the student succeed in these areas. ISAT results are also used to compare student scores to those of their peers within their school and throughout Illinois. Statewide comparisons help school districts determine evaluate and improve teaching strategies.

Help Your Child Succeed

Implement a regular study schedule. By scheduling a regular, mandatory study time, you know when to be available to answer your child's homework questions. Being available to answer questions will help your child stay focused. If they have to search the house for you, they may be distracted by other temptations like the television or a video game system.

There are interactive sample ISAT tests available online at the Illinois Board of Education website,


If you notice that the study sessions and sample tests are not helping your child improve, you may want to look into professional tutoring. Tutoring has helped thousands of children across the nation catch up with their peers. Tutoring can identify the areas where your student needs help. Some tutoring centers now administer assessment tests and use the results of the tests to create individualized lessons. What's more, tutoring offers one-on-one attention and instruction. Tutors are able to create a bond with each individual, establishing the most effective way to present material to the student. Tutors are able to tune into the specific senses and intelligences your child uses because they don't have to split their focus and attention among other children.

When looking for a tutor to help prepare your child for the ISAT, make sure the tutor is state-certified. State-certified tutors are licensed and are up-to-date on the Illinois educational standards. This means they are knowledgeable about the various skills your child will be tested on at the end of the year. Additionally, do not forget to research online tutoring centers. Online programs are just as effective as conventional centers and often are more convenient. This is because the student accesses their lesson online. Being able to access the lessons from the family computer eliminates the pesky drive to and from a learning center in town.

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