For Immediate Release
October 21, 2008

136 struggling schools making significant improvement

35 schools and 11 districts make AYP for second year to move off academic improvement status

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that nearly 50 schools and districts are being removed from improvement status as a result of their student performance, attendance rates and graduation rates. The schools and districts met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years by meeting the standards of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The results were announced as part of the State Board’s statewide analysis of the 2008 State Report Card which will be released on October 31, 2008.

“These schools and districts are making significant improvement, and this accomplishment is even more noteworthy given the various performance targets that continue to increase each year,” said Christopher A. Koch, State Superintendent of Education. “The staffs and students at these schools and districts should be very proud of their success to improve student achievement in their schools.”

Analysis of the statewide data for 2008 shows that 35 schools and 11 districts have been removed from improvement status by making AYP for two consecutive years. In addition, the data also shows that 101 schools and 23 districts in improvement status will not advance to further sanctions because they made AYP this year.    

The most recent tests were given in March and April. Students in third – eighth grades took the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in reading and mathematics while students in fourth and seventh grades were tested in science and fifth, sixth and eighth grade students were tested in writing. Students in 11th grade take the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE), which tests students in math, reading, science and writing. Statewide averages for the 2008 testing were released last month. Only reading and mathematics  results are used in calculating AYP.

Overall results show the number of schools and districts that made adequate yearly progress decreased under increasing NCLB performance targets. During 2008 the target for student achievement increased from 55% meeting and exceeding state standards to 62.5% and the graduation rate increased from 72% to 75%. Attendance rates remained the same as last year, at 90%.  2008 test results show that 2,607 of the schools that were tested made AYP under the increasing performance criteria while 1,196 or 31% failed to make AYP, an increase from 24% in 2007. In addition, the number of districts that made AYP in 2008 was 529, while 339 or 39% failed to make AYP, an increase from 28% in 2007.  

In past years’ some students that were classified as English Language Learners (ELL) took the IMAGE exam. ISBE had to eliminate the IMAGE this year in order for the State Assessment System to meet the NCLB criteria and be approved by the federal government. Those students instead took the ISAT or PSAE with accommodations. The impact on state averages was minimal, however impacts were much greater on the local level where large groups of ELL’s attend. 66 schools and 18 districts did not make AYP based solely on the performance of their ELL populations.

Highlights of the 2008 Report Card include:

Student Demographics
Student Performance & Achievement

ISBE has produced the School Report Card since 1986 for every public school and district in the state. State report cards have been produced since 2002 and are required by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

A full list of the 35 schools and 11 districts that were removed from improvement status can be found online at .

A full list of the 101 schools and 23 districts that are in improvement status but will not advance to further sanctions because they made AYP this year

Schools and districts are placed into improvement status when they do not make AYP for two consecutive state testing cycles.  After two years, schools and districts enter academic early warning status. Failing to make AYP for the fourth time, schools and districts are in academic watch status. After a fifth calculation, a school enters restructuring planning and will implement that plan should it fail to make AYP for the sixth time. Federal sanctions can include offering school choice and supplemental education services for schools in improvement and corrective action which receive Title I funds. State and federal requirements merge for schools in restructuring. Districts are charged with developing a restructuring plan for schools after not making AYP for the fifth calculations.

NCLB requires all states to measure each public school’s and district’s achievements and establish annual achievement targets for the state. The overreaching goal is for all students to meet or exceed standards in reading and mathematics by 2014.