2016 Illinois Report Card Highlights Statewide Strengths, Opportunities

State shows overall improvement in student attendance, PARCC participation, high school dropout rate, ACT scores, and PARCC math proficiency

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the 2016 Illinois Report Card at www.illinoisreportcard.com, providing schools, districts, parents, and stakeholders with a comprehensive annual informational snapshot of public education across the state. The statewide data reveal Illinois’ K-12 academic performance overall remained stable from the 2014-15 to the 2015-16 school years. The 2016 Report Card data show continuing opportunities for collaboration between districts and community partners to target and improve student outcomes.

The 2016 Report Card dataset stands as a significant benchmark, welcoming a new era of collaboration and support, as ISBE prepares to implement the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA allows districts greater flexibility to braid and blend funds to address specific local needs. The draft Illinois State Plan to implement ESSA, currently a work-in-progress developed collaboratively with Illinois’ stakeholders, will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in March. The plan will establish new accountability measures and systems of support for struggling districts to better serve students, designed based on stakeholder input. 

“During the 2015-16 school year, our Report Card indicators mostly held steady – a testament to the commitment and resourcefulness of educators and administrators across the state, who deeply felt our state’s education funding challenges,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Yet, while some students are achieving at remarkable levels, the majority of the generation of students entrusted to us are unprepared for the world of work and for meaningful participation in our communities. If we hope to make Illinois a state where whole, healthy children are nested in whole, healthy systems, and where all citizens are socially and economically secure, we must make major changes to the way we fund our public schools and fundamentally shift our approach to education. We can improve our Report Card indicators by coming together in Illinois around the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As educators, families, community and business leaders, and activists, we must seize the opportunities within ESSA. We must engage in dialogue, continue to build trusting relationships with one another, and activate all public, private, and philanthropic resources available in order to interrupt those practices that have left far too many of Illinois’ most vulnerable behind.”

Lauded for its transparency and user-friendliness, the Illinois Report Card allows schools and districts to look at their own performance from year to year and to identify collaboration opportunities with other schools and districts across multiple measures. Districts and schools use the Report Card data to ignite and inform conversations about how collectively to improve public education in Illinois for the benefit of all students.

Data points presented on the Report Card for the first time in 2016 include teacher attendance, an essential element in continuity for students, and 6- and 7-year graduation cohorts, representing Illinois’ commitment to graduate students with Individualized Education Programs. The Report Card also highlights the Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual credit courses schools make available to students, in order to further Illinois’ goal of increasing enrollment and outcomes in AP, IB, and dual credit courses, especially among currently underrepresented yet high-achieving students.

The award-winning online Report Card platform now also features a mobile-friendly format, easier access to PARCC data, and “How To” videos to guide users step by step through the Report Card. Additionally, improved tools for reviewing assessment data allow users to find scores by grade, student groups, and subject area. The new navigation for Academic Progress now separates current state test data from prior tests, but still retains the long-term information under Retired Tests.  

Some notable statewide data points are listed below. All comparisons, unless otherwise noted, show changes from the 2015 Report Card to the 2016 Report Card.

·        Statewide student attendance – increased from 94.2% to 94.4%

·        Percentage of students meeting or exceeding PARCC math proficiency – increased from 28.2% to 30.5%

·        High school dropout rate – decreased from 2.3% to 2.0%; metric shows percentage of students in grades 9-12 who dropped out of high school during the school year

·        Percentage of students tested on PARCC – increased from 95.6% to 97.5%

·        Percentage of students earning a 21 or higher ACT composite score – increased from 45.6% to 46.4%

·        Students enrolled in Pre-K-12 education – more than two million students (2,041,779) at the beginning of 2015-16, 12,777 fewer than the previous year; percentage of Hispanic students increased slightly (25.1% to 25.5%), while percentage declined slightly for White (49.3% to 48.8%) and African-American (17.5% to 17.3%) students

·        4-year cohort graduation rate – decreased slightly from 85.6% to 85.5%

·        5-year cohort graduation rate – remained the same at 87.7%

·        Percentage of freshman on-track to graduation – decreased from 83.4% to 82.4%

·        Eighth grade students passing Algebra I – remained the same at 28.4%; metric is in its second year of use on the Report Card and represents the number of eighth grade students passing an Algebra I course divided by the total number of eighth graders in the school/district

·        Percentage of students meeting or exceeding PARCC English/Language Arts proficiency – decreased from 37.7% to 36.2%

·        Percentage of students at or above the target on the Dynamic Learning Maps for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities – 22.6% on English/Language Arts and 11.3% on math; comparisons from year to year on the DLM are not meaningful, as the range of disabilities across years can vary widely

·        Chronic truancy – increased from 8.7% to 9.8%; metric shows percentage of students who missed 5 percent or more of school days per year without a valid excuse

·        Percentage of graduates enrolled in Illinois community colleges taking remedial courses – increased from 48.7% for 2013 high school graduates to 49.4% for 2014 high school graduates

·        Average teacher salary – increased by $841, from $62,609 to $63,450

·        Average administrator salary – increased by $2,914, from $100,720 to $103,634

·        Teacher retention rate – increased from 85.0% to 85.8%

·        Principal turnover – remained the same at 1.9 principals at the same school for six years

·        Teacher attendance percentage – 76.5% of teachers had 10 or fewer absences during the 2013-14 school year (most current data available); metric reported for the first-time in 2016

·        Per pupil expenditure for instruction – increased from $7,419 to $7,712

·        Operational expenditure per pupil – increased from $12,521 to $12,821

The majority of the data presented on the Report Card are collected annually from school districts through data systems such as the state’s Student Information System, Employment Information System, and e-Report Card data collection system. Some data, such as extracurricular activities, are entered by principals throughout the year.