ISBE Banner
State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

  ECS  |  CeRTS  |  IWAS | Teachers  | Students  | Administrators   | Student Assessment  | IL Learning Standards  | Programs | FormsGlossary


April 18, 2002

State Board of Education Adopts School Accountability Requirements of
Federal No Child Left Behind Law

The State Board of Education began making policy decisions at its April meeting to align Illinois' school accountability measures with the new federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law signed by President George W. Bush January 8.

Adequate Yearly Progress on State Standards-based tests

NCLB requires all schools to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets on state tests or face severe sanctions. A new standard for AYP was established by NCLB requiring schools, overall and by eight subgroups of their students, to reach 100 percent meeting state standards by 2013-14. The previous AYP criteria required schools to make sufficient annual progress to reach 50% meeting state standards over five years, but the standard applied only to the composite school score and not to subgroups.

State policy makers are required to establish starting points for determining AYP for schools and for the state as a whole. Two options are available under NCLB, and states are to establish the higher of the two. Option one would establish the starting point for AYP at the percent of students meeting state standards in the lowest-achieving subgroup. The lowest scoring subgroup on 2001 tests in Illinois was 16% meeting for mathematics and 24% for reading.

In compliance with NCLB, the State Board established the starting point as the percent of students meeting state standards for the school at the top of the lowest-achieving 20% of the state's students. Using 2001 results, this would establish starting points of 38% meets for mathematics and 40% for reading. With those same results in the baseline year of 2002, the state's schools and subgroups would need to meet those targets plus 5% growth each year to reach 100% meeting standards by 2013-14.

The aggregate percentage of students in Illinois meeting state reading and mathematics standards on the 2001 ISAT was considerably above the 40%, with 60% meeting state standards, but subgroups ranged from 16% meeting to 81% meeting. The aggregate percentage and the percentage meeting for each of the eight subgroups would have to reach the annual target for schools and for the state to be making AYP expectations under NCLB.

Schools receiving federal Title 1 funds that do not make AYP for two consecutive years will be required to offer their students the opportunity to choose another higher-achieving public school within the district and pay the cost of transporting students who choose other schools. The AYP required on the 2002 tests is the current definition of making progress toward 50% in five years.

Offering choice to students will start this fall for schools that do not make AYP on 2002 ISAT tests if they also have not reached AYP for the last two years. Sanctions in later years would require offering choice or supplemental educational services to students. No schools will have this dual requirement before the 2003-04 school year, since NCLB provides that schools remain in the school improvement status they were in when the bill was signed.

Highly Qualified Teachers

NCLB requires all newly hired Title 1 teachers to meet the federal definition of "highly qualified" in order to teach in a school that receives Title 1 funding. Paraprofessionals hired after January 8, 2002, with Title 1 funds to work with students in an instructional capacity would also have to meet strict qualifications in the NCLB law. New Title 1-funded teachers would need to be "highly qualified" this fall, and all teachers in the state must meet the definition by the end of the 2005-06 school year. All paraprofessionals working in Title 1-funded programs must meet qualifications in the law by January 8, 2006.

The Board affirmed the federal definition Thursday for "highly qualified" teacher and paraprofessional qualifications that conform to the requirements of NCLB. The definitions apply to training and teaching assignment. To be considered highly qualified, a teacher must hold full state certification and not have any provisions waived on an emergency, temporary or provisional basis. In addition, teachers must meet the requirements established by the state for their teaching assignments.

Paraprofessionals hired after January 8 with Title 1 funding to work in Title 1 programs must have--

  • Completed at least two years of higher education;
  • Obtained at least an associate's degree; or
  • Demonstrated on a state or local academic assessment the mastery of rigorous standards in reading, mathematics and writing.

Staff members noted two areas of continued analysis regarding provisions of NCLB that have significant implications for the state: teachers who are teaching out-of-field and bilingual teachers with certificates good for 6 - 8 years may not meet the NCLB definition of highly qualified teacher. Staff continues to seek clarification of this issue and will present recommendations addressing these two issues that have significant policy implications since the state has a shortage of teachers in several specialty areas, including bilingual.


April 22 -- Education Funding Advisory Board

A Joint meeting of the Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) Property Tax Work Group and Revenue Source Work Group will be held on Monday, April 22, 2002, from 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the James R. Thompson Center in the Governor's Large Conference Room, 16th floor, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, Illinois.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777