Student academic performance looks mostly static on new Illinois Report Card
An annual Illinois assessment of student, school and school district performance labels more than 77 percent of K-12 schools as exemplary or commendable, even though students' academic test results appear static and sub-par in many instances.
The annual Illinois Report Card, released by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), found that 766 schools out of nearly 3,900 were either underperforming or “lower performing.”
Multiple standardized tests found certain student grade levels achieving proficiency rates of well under 50 percent even as the overall graduation rate statewide stood at 85 percent.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers measures the performance of third- through eighth-graders for both math and English language comprehension. On the English test, 37 percent of students were found to have met or exceeded expectations this year – the same percentage recorded in 2017.
On the math test, 32 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, again mirroring the test results reported last year.
On the Student Aptitude Test (SAT), 37 percent of high school students who took the exam met or surpassed expectations in English, while 34 percent performed well on the math section. Those results were down about 3 percent from the 2017 SAT assessments in Illinois.
The Dynamic Learning Maps-Alternative Assessment, which is given to students with cognitive disabilities, produced results that mirrored the numbers from a year ago. On the English side, 22 percent of those who took the test met or exceeded expectations, while only 10 percent met or surpassed expectations in math.
Science tests showed a higher percentage of students performing well. Fifty-one percent of students passed the Illinois Science Assessment, according to the 2018 results, the same percentage reported a year earlier.
Another benchmark examined in the Illinois Report Card is the rate of eighth-graders passing algebra. The ISBE views students who make the grade in this subject as being on track for success in high school. The statewide percentage of students passing algebra reached 30.6 percent, according to the 2018 Illinois Report Card, up from about 28 percent two years ago.
The overall achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent counterparts has remained at about 30 percent over the past three years, the ISBE reported.