The Education Zone
Chicago — Some Chicago community activists are worried new benchmarks on the state’s entrance exams for teachers unfairly affect minorities. Last year, the Illinois State Board of Education raised passing scores for the Basic Skills Test, which all college students have to take in order to get into a teacher-preparation program.
Students used to be able to squeak by with getting 35 percent of the math questions right. Now they have to get 75 percent of those questions right.
Katelyn Johnson, who’s with the community group Action Now, says the new passing scores are keeping minority students out of teaching programs. She points to data from the first test with the new benchmarks given in September. It shows that three percent of black students passed, while 28 percent of white students passed. Hispanic students clocked in with seven percent, and Asian students with eight percent.
“This test has been a barrier for African Americans and Latinos and people of color in general,” Johnson said.