News

For Immediate Release
October 31, 2011

Achievement Gap Narrows at Elementary Schools


Nine schools make it off status even as benchmarks increase

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education announced that 2011 state standardized test results released today show the achievement gap is narrowing at the elementary school level, particularly due to gains among African American, special education, and low income students. Additionally, nine Illinois schools made it off improvement status under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 by making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years even as the state’s proficiency benchmarks increased by 7.5 percent each year.

“It’s encouraging to see the achievement gap narrow among elementary school students,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Our students have shown steady, incremental improvement and we know that represents solid progress. It’s especially remarkable to see schools flagged for improvement make the dramatic changes necessary to get off status.”

State trend data show some closure of the achievement gap at the elementary level. Meanwhile, Illinois' public school minority population grew from 36.7 percent of students in 1997 to 48.6 percent in 2011 and the state’s low-income student population increased from 35.7 percent in 1997 to 48.1 percent of students in 2011.

Over time, the achievement gap between White and Black students has narrowed by 11.4 percent in math and 7.9 percent in reading. Since 2006, Black students have made substantial gains, with a 14.3 percent increase in Black students meeting and exceeding proficiency in ISAT math and a 13.0 percent increase in ISAT reading. Percent of Hispanic students meeting and exceeding proficiency also increased, by 4.7 percent in ISAT math and 5.2 percent in ISAT reading.

Likewise, the achievement gap between special education students with an Individualized Education Program (IEPs) and students without IEPs narrowed. Percent of students with an IEP meeting and exceeding proficiency has increased by 7.6 percent in ISAT math and 7.0 percent in ISAT reading since 2006.

In addition, the achievement gap between low income and non-low income students narrowed by 7 percent in math and 4 percent in reading. Percent of low income students meeting and exceeding proficiency has increased by 10.8 percent in ISAT math and 10.4 percent in ISAT reading since 2006.

Graphs reflecting these gains can be found at this web page: http://www.isbe.net/assessment/pdfs/report_card/rpt_card_ayp_findings10-11.pdf

The results were announced as part of the State Board’s statewide analysis of the 2011 State Report Card and as the state develops a comprehensive application for a waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 offered through the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Education. ISBE plans to submit its waiver application by the February deadline.

In addition, analysis of the statewide data for 2011 shows that nine schools have been removed from improvement status by meeting standards for NCLB, or AYP, for two consecutive years even as the benchmarks rose by 7.5 percent each year. They are:

Across the state, eight high schools and one high school district, Adlai E Stevenson High School District 125, made AYP this year based on PSAE scores. (Two more high schools made AYP based on other indicators but not PSAE scores.) The eight high schools are:

ISBE has produced the School Report Card since 1986 for every public school and district in Illinois. State report cards have been produced since 2002 and are required under No Child Left Behind. District report cards can be found on the ISBE website at www.isbe.net and http://iirc.niu.edu/

Information about statewide composite scores and AYP information released earlier this month can be found on the ISBE home page at http://www.isbe.net/news/2011/oct20.htm.

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