For Immediate Release
October 23, 2013

Illinois State Board of Education to unveil new, more user-friendly School Report Card

Streamlined Report Card will provide more robust information to reflect schools’ unique qualities

SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans will get a new and improved view of their local schools through a more consumer-friendly State, District and School Report Card, set to debut Oct. 31. The new Report Card features multiple measures of academic performance as well as school climate and learning conditions, rendering a more complete picture of the state’s nearly 4,000 public schools.

“The new, simplified Report Card represents more than a cosmetic change,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “This complete makeover reflects the comprehensive changes taking place in Illinois schools, from higher expectations in the classroom, increased collaboration among teachers and more  meaningful academic data to show how well our students are progressing from one year to the next, and whether they’re on track for college.”

The new Report Card emphasizes measuring student and school progress rather than merely providing a one-time snapshot of annual standardized test scores and aims to better inform everyone, from families and educators to policy makers and students themselves. It highlights important college readiness benchmarks and also displays more elements about daily school life, including school leadership, extracurricular activities, honors and awards that distinguish each school.

The Report Card, developed through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), will be available Oct. 31 at in two new formats:

“The new School Report Card will be a useful tool for parents to better understand their students’ academic performance and their schools’ overall achievement,” said Peg Staehlin, president of the Illinois PTA. “The At-A-Glance Report Card will help initiate conversations among parents, communities and their local school administrators and boards of education to share their perspectives and develop action plans to help improve the educational experiences for the children they serve.”

The 2013 Report Card will display “Student Academic Growth” by school according to a new growth model using value tables that shows how much academic progress students have demonstrated from one year to the next in reading and math. Education experts believe this approach will improve understanding of student learning and provide a more nuanced accountability system that reflects progress as well as achievement.

The Student Academic Growth score will be reported in 2013 on an advisory basis, not as part of the state’s accountability system. This metric will be displayed by elementary school and district on both the “At-A-Glance” two-page report and the online report card.

The 2013 Report Card also offers data about students on track for college. This year’s report card features a metric labeled “Ready for College Coursework,” which refers to the percent of students who earned a combined score of at least a 21 on the ACT college admissions test.  ISBE chose a score of 21 as that figure is the mathematical average of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmark (CRB) values and is a single, simple metric that resonates with families as they plan for college applications and admissions.  At the same time, ISBE will also showcase the data regarding the percent of students who met each of ACT’s four college readiness benchmarks (CRB) as those metrics reflect college readiness for each of the four tested subjects: English, mathematics, reading and science.

The School Report Card will also list the participation rates of teachers and eligible sixth- through twelfth-graders from each school on the first statewide school climate and learning conditions survey, administered in spring 2013. The report card will provide a link to each school’s summary responses for survey questions.

A wide variety of community education groups, including the Governor’s Illinois P-20 Council, the Illinois PTA, state teacher unions and school district superintendents, collaborated on the new Report Card. 

“Illinois’ redesigned Report Card goes beyond merely meeting the compliance requirements of No Child Left Behind by providing parents, educators and others in-depth, meaningful big picture data about students and their school environments in order to drive continuous progress,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, founder and executive director of Data Quality Campaign, a national advocacy group that helps states develop and implement best practices in educational data use. “By making information available in a format anyone can understand, the new Report Card fosters a model of school improvement where all community members are empowered to make the best decisions possible to improve student success.”

The following is a list of metrics that will appear on this year’s Report Card:

Academic Progress

Student Characteristics

School Environment

Programs and Courses

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. School districts must present the report card at a regular board meeting, make it available to local newspapers within the first 30 days of receiving it from the state, and notify parents of the new report card in writing. Districts with websites must post the report card online. If they do not have a website, they must provide parents with copies.


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