Report Cards Contain Extensive Information About Schools


November 12, 2002
Further Information:

Illinois schools recorded a record-high graduation rate and an all-time low dropout rate in 2002, according to a State Board of Education analysis of school report cards.

For the first time, Illinois’ graduation rate exceeded 85 percent, moving to 85.2 percent, two full percentage points above the 2001 level and well above the 76.3 percent mark reported on the first school report cards in 1986. The dropout rate fell to 5.1 percent, down from 5.7 percent in 2001 and the high point of 7.0 percent reported on the report card in 1994.

State test results included on report cards show that over 60 percent of Illinois students met or exceeded state standards on all state tests last spring.

This is the first year the overall performance of students on all state tests has been reported. Performance figures on ISAT show that 62.7 percent of students met or exceeded state standards on all five tests. Students take Illinois Standards Achievement Tests in reading, mathematics and writing in grades 3, 5 and 8. ISAT science and social science tests are given to students in grades 4 and 7.

The Prairie State Achievement Examination is taken by all eleventh-grade students and covers all five subjects. Results of the 2002 PSAE show that 56.1 percent of eleventh-grade students met or exceeded state standards.

Students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Plans specify that state census tests are not appropriate for them take the Illinois Alternate Assessment. IAA results indicate that 36.4 percent of students taking the test met or exceeded state standards (defined on the IAA results as “Progressing” and “Attaining”).

Students whose primary language is not English may take the Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English if they have been in bilingual programs three years or less. About one-third (33 percent) of students taking the 2002 IMAGE met or exceeded state standards (defined on IMAGE results as “Expanding” and “Transitioning”).

Required by legislation adopted in 1985, school report cards have been issued annually since 1986. In addition to test performance of students, report cards include data on enrollment, attendance, graduation, truancy, student mobility, dropouts, class sizes, instructional time, finances and other items specified by the law.

All-time record highs for Hispanic enrollment, student attendance rates and low-income enrollment were reported on 2002 report cards. Hispanic students now make up 16.2 percent of the Illinois school population, compared to 15.4 percent in 2001 and 8.3 percent in 1987. The student attendance rate in the 2001-2002 school year rose to 94 percent, up from 93.7 percent in the previous year. Low-income enrollment rose to 37.5 percent, up from 36.9 percent the previous year and considerably higher than 29.1 percent reported ten years earlier in 1991.

Record lows were recorded in 2002 for the chronic truancy rate and the student mobility rate. Chronic truancy was down to 2.0 percent, below the 2001 level of 2.2 percent and the high of 2.4 percent in 2000. Chronic truancy is defined as having 18 or more absences without valid cause in the last 180 days of school. The mobility rate reached a record low of 16.5 percent, down from the high of 21.9 percent in 1990 and the 2001 rate of 17.21 percent. Mobility rate is based on the number of times students enroll in or leave a school during the year.

The 3915 public schools that issued report cards reported total enrollment of 2,029,821, an increase of 22,651 from the 2000-2001 school year. White students made up 59.3 percent of the 2002 enrollment, down from 60.1 percent the previous year; black students comprised 20.8 percent (20.9 percent in 2001); Hispanics 16.2 percent (15.4); Asian/Pacific Islanders 3.5 percent (3.4); and Native Americans .2 percent (same as 2001).

Local school report cards are to be placed on the websites of schools, and parents are to receive a notice telling them how to access the on-line cards and informing them that they may receive a printed copy if they cannot access the website. Schools without websites must continue to send report cards home to parents. All report cards will also be available later this week on the State Board of Education’s website,