Wednesday, October 31, 2018

State touts favorable School Report Cards,
new school support, accountability system

ISBE released a new school accountability
and support system for school improvement.
The release of Illinois School Report Card data on October 31 reveals that the percentage of high school students enrolling in college 12 months after graduation has increased to 73 percent of all graduates – up from 69 percent four years ago.

In addition to report card numbers, the state released its official designations for every school in Illinois, which officials claim will provide a public benchmark of school progress toward the goal of preparing all students for success in college and career.  These designations are based on 10 measures of school performance.

According the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the new school designations invite community input, reflection, and engagement in the progress and success of all students. ISBE says schools it designates as Lowest-Performing or Underperforming will receive additional federal funding and participate in a collaborative, school-led improvement process called the IL-EMPOWER school improvement process. 
IL-EMPOWER is the process schools
are to use to access multiple resources,
including new federal funding, for areas
of greatest need to help improve schools.

The designation for each school is intended to provide transparency for families and communities. The designations are facts, not judgments, state officials say.

An Exemplary designation goes to the highest-performing 10 percent of schools. The Lowest-Performing designation identifies the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools. Schools that are otherwise well-performing but have one or more student groups seen as significantly underperforming receive the Underperforming designation, which goes to approximately 15 percent of schools. All other schools will receive the Commendable designation, which goes to 70 percent of schools.

As mentioned, schools with the Underperforming or Lowest-Performing designation are required to participate in the IL-EMPOWER improvement process, which begins with a school-led needs assessment. Besides federal funding, the process includes ISBE school support managers, and the school’s choice of professional learning partners to work with on local improvement needs.

ISBE has prepared a series of infographics on the new support and accountability system, all of which can be viewed at

The 2018 Illinois Report Card also shows each school district’s Evidence-Based Funding amount and state funding gap. The state overhauled its primary funding formula in 2017 to send more state funding to the districts in the greatest financial need.