Via the District 299 Chicago Public Schools Blog, this article about the National Assessment of Educational Progress science exam.
Here's the key discrepancy: 30% of Illinois students passes the NAEP, but nearly 75% passed the state science exams.
Ginger Reynolds, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for the Illinois State Board of Education, cautioned against reading too much into the national test results.
"The results are important and we will look closely at them," she said. "But our focus is on the state test because we know that teachers align their curricula to the state exams. The state test results show that our schools are teaching according to the learning standards that we have adopted as a state."
To put this in perspective, here's a sample question as from the NAEP 8th grade exam, as described in the Tribune:
An 8th-grade question told students that two glasses of water looked identical. "Explain what Maria could do, without tasting the water, to find out which glass contains salt water." One answer: Evaporate the water from the glasses. The salt will remain.
Do you expect your 8th grader to know this? Does the Illinois state curriculum?