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November 4, 2003

State releases 2003 Illinois State Report Card

Reflects new information and all electronic gathering

Springfield, Ill. – State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller today released the 2003 Illinois State Report Card. The report card contains additional information from reports in previous years to reflect changes in the federal law stemming from the No Child Left Behind act. The State Report Card can be downloaded from the agency’s website at:

The State and individual school report cards now display a full presentation of data, by grade and by student subgroup, from the state’s limited English proficiency test. Results from the Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English (IMAGE), is included in this year’s reports along with the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) which tests for students with significant disabilities.

The state report includes a list of 581 schools designated as being in federal “school improvement status,” meaning those schools that have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years. The designation only applies to Title 1 schools. The number of these schools rose 10.4% from 2002. The numbers listed for each year indicate the number of years a school has been in school improvement.

Information about a school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is also incorporated in the individual cards to be posted this week. The AYP reports are based on test scores, test participation rates and attendance rates (for elementary and middle schools) or graduation rates (for secondary schools).

The expanded document also now includes a full presentation of data from the state’s limited English proficiency test. It also includes disaggregated data that indicates teacher experience and credentials by high and low poverty schools.

For the first time, data for the School Report Cards was collected electronically. The change eliminates an inefficient paper process that required manual input of data from districts.

Summary of Report Findings


Comparing the 2002 data with this year’s, the number of students increased by less than a percent to 2,044,539 at 3,919 public schools. Demographically, there were slight changes for white student enrollment which dropped from 59.3 to 58.6%. African-American students dropped even less going from 20.8% to 20.7%. Hispanic enrollment however, increased by .8% now making up 17% of the student population.

High school graduation rates are more accurate this year, incorporating better reporting from the state’s large urban districts. The state’s graduation rate posted at 86 percent, moving .8 percentage points above the 2002 level and well above the 76.3 percent mark reported on the first school report cards in 1986.


Achievement results were released and discussed at the end of July. The results, as reported, were mixed:

  • Math performance is rising at the elementary and middle grades, continuing a five-year trend.
  • Reading performance is virtually flat.
  • Limited English proficiency (measured by IMAGE) is improving.
  • Performance of students with disabilities is also improving (as measured by IAA).
  • High school achievement in all subjects is relatively flat (as measured by the Prairie State Achievement Exam, or PSAE).

The student attendance rate in the 2002-2003 school year was flat at 94 percent. Low-income enrollment rose to 37.9 percent, up from 37.5 percent the previous year and considerably higher than 29.1 percent reported in 1991.

The chronic truancy rate and the student mobility rate were down for 2002. Chronic truancy was down to 1.9 percent, just below the 2002 level of 2.0 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 previous 180 days of school. The mobility rate was down to 16.4 percent from the 2002 rate of 16.5 percent and lower than the 21.9 percent in 1990. Mobility rate is based on the number of times students enroll in or leave a school during the year.


The number of teachers in Illinois’ classrooms is up and student/teacher ratios are down. The overall number of teachers increased by about 3,000 to 129,068 - slightly improving student/teacher ratios. At the elementary level ratios dropped from 19.1 to 18.4; and at the secondary level from 18.3 to 18.2.

The state report also shows a wide variance in the percent of classes not taught by highly qualified teachers between high and low poverty schools. While low poverty schools report only one-half of 1% of classes are not taught by teachers who are highly qualified teachers, high poverty schools report 5.4% of these classes.

Data collected on teachers for the report indicate that the average teacher and administrator salaries are up 3% from 2002, generally consistent with, or slightly less than, the average Cost of Living Allowances over the past five years.

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