PacioneZayasTooYoungToTestCHICAGO – To prevent developmentally inappropriate standardized tests from being administered to young children, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) championed the Too Young to Test Act, which was signed into law on Friday.

“Standardized testing has historically served to keep groups out of institutions, and we know that the value and validity in our education system of using these assessments are highly questionable,” said Pacione-Zayas. “This law acknowledges well-established brain science research that asserts the fluidity of child development during the early years rendering standardized tests as developmentally inappropriate. Further, it lives up to the Governor’s vision of Illinois as the best state in the nation for families raising young children.”

The new law, formerly known as Senate Bill 3986, ensures the Illinois State Board of Education does not develop, require, or purchase standardized tests for students Pre-K through second grade, except for the case of diagnostic and screening tests including determining eligibility for special education services, bilingual services, dyslexia interventions, observational tools like the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, and the federally mandated English Learner assessments.

Currently, the federal government only mandates standardized tests from third grade and on, although ISBE is currently considering allowing optional standardized tests for younger students.

"Standardized testing used for annual accountability purposes in older grades is not valid and reliable for children under age 8. It's not required by federal law, and it's not wanted by the majority of parents and educators who know that standardized testing isn't developmentally appropriate in early childhood,” said Cassie Creswell, director of Illinois Families for Public Schools. “We need to protect those years from further encroachment by high-stakes tests."

The Too Young to Test Act was signed into law on Friday. It takes effect immediately.