Tri-Cities Won't Alter Courses on Scores Illinois Board of Higher Education Wants to Raise Standards to Encourage College Interest

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Byline: Tona Kunz Daily Herald Staff Writer

Tri-Cities area schools all topped the state average for the Prairie State Achievement Examination.

They had fewer students ending up in the academic warning category for all subjects and more students exceeding standards for all subjects.

Educators would rather wait to see a trend than altering their curriculums based on the results of the first test.

The test is closely tied to the state goals for what students should know in reading, writing, math, science and social science. Poor performance statewide has legislators rethinking classroom requirements.

If legislators agree in 2002 to increase core requirements to boost scores, the Tri-Cities will see a change in who takes what classes.

Some educators say that would have little effect because the majority of Tri-Cities students exceed the current requirements of college entrance standards.

"In most cases our students exceed our standards rather than struggle to meet them," said St. Charles Assistant Principal of Curriculum Ron Rathner. St. Charles and Geneva districts would have to increase the minimum number of classes in three of the four major subjects to graduate.

"It definitely is not going to hurt us," said Geneva Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Jane Gazdziak. "If the state came in and changed that it would have little impact on our programs. It would just be a requirement rather than an elective."

Others say the move to increase scores could limit the extra curricular activities that allow students to be well-rounded. It also could hurt those heading straight for the work force who rely on vocational training and life skills courses.

"I still would be worried about forcing some kids out of those courses," Rathner said. …