Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 1:43 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 6-4-04
Good afternoon,


The General Assembly has gone into overtime and the status of many things remains in limbo. Today’s message includes important information for student assessment data verification.


We will be sending out a separate special message for teacher certification today. Please review the important information contained in it regarding highly qualified teachers and other certification matters.


We will be cutting down to a summer schedule in regards to my weekly messages and will send them out to you as needed. We will also be moving away from our current listserv which in some cases may be outdated and will be moving forward with our most reliable contact information through the IWAS system. I would hope that each of you distribute the message accordingly to the most appropriate people in your districts.


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education


Also in today’s message:


Legislative Update

In what should have been the final days of the Spring 2004 session of the General Assembly, only one substantive education bill passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for consideration.  HB4225 changes how Special Education categorical funds are reimbursed.  The change will reduce the amount of paperwork that school districts and special education cooperatives currently have to complete in order to be reimbursed.  It its final form, HB4225 has a hold harmless provision for Fiscal Year 2005 until Fiscal Year 2005, and it requires that reimbursement for individual students with disabilities whose program costs exceed four per capita shall be claimed with costs encumbered for the 2004-2005 school year and after.


Senate Bill 3001, which would have transferred the authority of ISBE to develop the grant index for school construction projects, failed to pass the Senate.  The bill also contained the bonding authority for school construction which will likely be revived during the ongoing budget negotiations.


Several key measures have not yet cleared both the House and the Senate, including Senate Bill 3000 which would give the Governor the authority to appoint seven new members to the State Board of Education.


House Bill 929 which now contains the reauthorization of the TRIP program and the much needed revisions to teacher certification is also still pending.


Update on Key Steps in the 2004 State Assessment Data Verification Process

An updated timeline of key steps is posted on the ISBE Web site at


First Data Correction Window Opens June 10

In May, the ISBE Student Asessment Division sent a letter regarding the 2004 data correction process to all district superintendents.  The letter provided information about two correction windows this summer, the first of which will open June 10.  Next week, superintendents will receive a memo from Pearson Educational Measurement that provides the User IDs and Passwords that superintendents must use to access Pearson’s SchoolHouse Illinois Data Collection Web site and make any needed data corrections.  (IDs and Passwords that can be given to school principals will also be provided.)


IPA to Provide Regional Training Sessions the Week of June 14

The Illinois Principals Association is offering training sessions this month in each of its regions on the 2004 state assessment data verification process.  Each session will address key steps in the process, the types of data to be reviewed, the operation of Pearson’s electronic data collection system on SchoolHouse, things to check when reviewing data, and medical exemptions and students new to the U.S.  For information about training session dates and locations and the registration contact for each session, check the schedule posted at


Districts to Receive Targeted Information Regarding Enrollment Data Status

Pearson is sending targeted e-mails to district superintendents whose first-day-of-testing enrollments reflect any of the following situations:  enrollment data for one or more schools is missing, incomplete, not confirmed, or not approved by the district superintendent.  These targeted messages are being sent to help superintendents identify exactly what needs to be corrected or finished in the data entry process.


Identifying Students Who Are New to the U.S.

During both data correction windows this summer, districts will be able to identify tested students who are new to the U.S. in order to have them count for AYP participation but not for AYP performance.  Information about this was provided in a , February 19, 2004, letter from the U.S. Department of Education to all states.  Illinois is defining “students who are new to the U.S.” as those students who are reported by their parents or guardians as enrolling for the first time in a U.S. school during the period from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004, and are enrolled in a state-approved TBE/TPI program.


Identifying Medically Exempt Students

Based on information received from the U.S. Department of Education, students who experience severe medical emergencies at the time of state testing may now be identified as medically exempt.  Illinois is defining “medically exempt students” as those who are in residential drug/alcohol/psychological treatment programs(s), or who have been admitted to a hospital because of emergency medical procedures (automobile/other motor vehicle accidents, emergency surgeries, etc.).  Such students may be removed from the first-day-of-testing enrollments.  Districts should remove from enrollment numbers indicated in Demographics on SchoolHouse any students who did not test in 2004 because they met the criteria for a medical exemption.  Districts must also complete a Notification of Medical Exemptions form (which may be downloaded at and return it to the ISBE Student Assessment Division by August 21, 2004.


Data Correction Process for 2004 Grade 2 Tests

For the Illinois Grade 2 Assessment of Reading and Mathematics only, the first-day-of-testing enrollments and demographic information for tested students will not be verified online. Rather, ISBE will mail to district superintendents Grade 2 demographic verification reports (denominator data), student information rosters (numerator data), and preliminary AYP participation reports during the June 10-28 data correction window.  Specific instructions will be included that explain how to make any needed corrections.  This information will also be sent to the principals of schools that administered the Grade 2 tests in 2004.  Contact Megan Forness in the ISBE Student Assessment Division with any questions about this process ( or 217/782-4823).


Even Start Family Literacy Program Update

A total of 49 competetive proposals were received for FY05 for the Even Start Family Literacy Program, requesting a total amount of $9,505,294, which far exceeded the amount of funding available.  Award letters have been issued to 25 applicants in the amount of $3,960,000.


As established by law, each proposal was reviewed by a three-person team which included an early childhood professional, an adult education professional and an individual with expertise in family literacy. Proposals were reviewed using a review rubric based on the criteria for review and approval found in the Even Start Family Literacy Request for Proposals.



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