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State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

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February 29, 2003

State Board of Education Approves
Accountability Measures for No Child Left Behind

The State Board of Education today established accountability measures for the federal No Child Left Behind law that State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller called “comprehensive, useful and fair.”

No Child Left Behind requires schools that receive federal Title 1 funds to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets in reading and mathematics set by the State Board within specified NCLB guidelines. Targets set today will be used to establish the 2002 baseline and to evaluate AYP based on the state testing results in 2003 and beyond.

The measures approved by the State Board were recommended by the Assessment and Accountability Task Force created by Schiller last September to formulate plans to align Illinois’ accountability procedures with the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

“These actions establish an accountability system that is comprehensive, useful and fair within the parameters established by No Child Left Behind,” said Schiller. “I am grateful to the members of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force for the time and effort they put into analyzing the impact of NCLB accountability requirements.”

The State Board approved recommendations of the Task Force in the following accountability areas required by NCLB:

--Starting points for Reading and Mathematics AYP calculations
The State Board adopted a methodology for calculating starting points in April 2002. By this method, all schools are ranked by their reading and mathematics performance (% meets + exceeds). Counting from the bottom of the list, Illinois identified the school at the level that accounts for 20% of all students. Student performance in reading and mathematics (% meets + exceeds) for this school serves as the starting point for the state annual targets.

By applying this methodology to Illinois 2002 state assessment data, the value for Reading performance was 40.86% (meets + exceeds scores), and the value for Mathematics performance was 39.68% (meets + exceeds scores).

  • The Task Force recommends that the starting points for Reading and Mathematics both be set at 40%.

--Annual measurable objectives (annual targets) such that all students meet or exceed standards in reading and mathematics by 2013-14.
Illinois acknowledges that the Congressional intent was to ensure that no State waited until near the end of the timeline and then expected enormous, unrealistic growth in the last few years. As requested by the State Board in December 2002, the Task Force reconsidered its initial recommendation.

The table below demonstrates the Task Force's and the Superintendent's agreement that growth at the beginning of the timeline will be slow (as schools develop improved curriculum and instruction). It will also be statistically difficult to make huge achievement increases at the end (as schools approach very high levels of achievement). However, steady growth can be anticipated and will occur in the middle years. In order to follow such a scientifically-based approach, planning must occur; staff must be of high quality and serve in their fields of expertise, and also be prepared for focused work in reading and mathematics with students of all ages; the curriculum must be consistent with the Illinois Learning Standards and focused. The proposal outlined below meets that intent as well as the requirement for "continuous and substantial" growth within the context of a research-based approach.

AYP Target
  • The Task Force recommends the continuous and substantial growth plan, with the illustrated annual targets/intermediate goals.

--Minimum group size for reporting purposes/ensuring privacy
Illinois currently reports data on school report cards for student groups of 5 or more students. This has caused some concerns regarding whether individual students’ performance can be identified.

  • The Task Force recommends a minimum group size of 10 for reporting purposes.

--Minimum group size for AYP calculations
To meet AYP criteria, schools and districts must count student scores in various specified subgroups (racial/ethnic, low income, limited English proficient, special education). The size of the subgroup must be large enough to offer reliable and valid scores, yet small enough to assure that as many students as possible are counted in the accountability system. If the group size is too small, the scores of one or two students can drastically alter annual trends and AYP calculations.

  • Based on consultation with experts and a review of other states’ practices, the Task Force recommends a minimum group size of 40 for AYP calculations.

--Definition of a “full academic year,” to determine which student scores count in AYP calculations
Students in many districts enter schools in mid-year, and sometimes shortly before the state test administration. All students should be tested and their scores reported back to the school and district. However, it makes sense that scores that count for accountability purposes be those for students who have spent enough time in the school to be reasonably affected by its curriculum and instruction.

  • The Task Force recommends counting students enrolled on or before the last school day of September in AYP calculations. This date coincides with the date of the Fall Housing Report already collected by ISBE.

---Additional indicators for high schools and elementary/middle schools.
NCLB requires that states adopt graduation rate as the secondary indicator for high schools.

Illinois already has a definition for public high school graduation rate. As stated in the Consolidated State Application in June 2002, the graduation rate used in Illinois is derived using the cohort method (i.e., the percentage of ninth grade students remaining until graduation). The School Report Card data collection effort has been modified to allow for the disaggregation of graduation rate by the major racial/ethnic categories, and by English language learning, low-income, students with disabilities, and migrant classifications. This methodology is consistent with those of the National Center for Education Statistics.

The Illinois School Report Card data collection instrument is used to report, on an annual basis, a school graduation rate for every public high school in Illinois.

  • The Task Force recommends that Illinois adopt graduation rate as the additional academic indicator for high schools, using the currently accepted cohort method.

For elementary and middle schools, NCLB allows several options for an additional academic indicator. The Task Force considered many options, looking at various plans and proposals from other states. By far, most states were planning to use attendance for their additional K-8 indicator. The current Illinois statewide average attendance rate is 92%.

  • The Task Force recommends that Illinois adopt "attendance rate" as the additional academic indicator at the elementary and middle school levels.

The State board also adopted the following recommendations of the Task Force regarding the IMAGE test for students with Limited English Proficiency:

The Task Force at its January 2003 meeting made a series of recommendations regarding modifications in the current IMAGE assessment and reporting. These recommendations addressed needs of students with limited English proficiency, also called English Language Learners (ELL). A primary issue was treating IMAGE similar to ISAT and PSAE in frequency, reporting, and the student identification system.

Specific recommendations adopted were:

  • IMAGE 2006, like ISAT 2006, should assess the state standards in reading, math and writing. Science should be added in 2007.
  • IMAGE should reflect the same requirements that are established for the ISAT/PSAE 2006.
  • Ensure that the achievement categories on IMAGE are equivalent to ISAT/PSAE.
  • Develop a statewide supported identification system that would allow school districts to collect data on mobile students.
  • Develop a Grade 2 IMAGE assessment test as an option for school districts (pending appropriations).
  • Determine a state definition of ELL/LEP students.
  • Ensure use of accommodations: allow local districts to report data on listening and speaking using an approved standardized instrument. The state will provide a common reporting system.

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