Thursday, November 13, 2014

2014 Illinois School Report Cards

On October 31, 2014, the Illinois State Board of Education released the 2014 Illinois School Report Cards.  You can see the new layout and redesigned school information at http://www.illinoisreportcard.com.


The new report cards have been unveiled at a time of great change regarding student assessment and school accountability.  States and districts are moving away from single test accountability measures that we have used for the past decade.  Schools are focused more and more on student growth rather than student attainment.  

As State Superintendent, Dr. Christopher Koch, stated in his weekly update:
The assessment scores released on Friday were the last ones using the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE). This school year we begin administering the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams. Scores from the tests administered this year will be used to set the baseline for the measures in years to come.
The new Illinois Report Card simplifies school data into a dashboard of key data points. The new layout stresses that it is reporting multiple metrics that indicate school success. Unfortunately, during this time of change in state assessments, the new report card is using old data, and not doing a very good job putting the data into context. For example, no where on the report card does it say that the cut scores on the ISAT (3rd - 8th Grade state assessment) were changed in 2013, so the scores for all schools look very different in 2012 and 2013. The state also changed the formulas for calculating graduation rates and chronic truants in 2012, but that information is not found on the new school report card.

I presented the attached presentation to the the Urbana School District Board of Education at their November 4, 2014 Study Session.  



The new report card has a great deal of potential; however, while the state assessments are being redesigned to align to the new Illinois State Standards, the data on the report cards will not be as valuable as talking to your teacher, your child, and the principal of your child’s school.  

Educators use and share much more data than is contained in the school report cards.  We do not wait for state test scores to begin planning and improving learning and opportunities for our students.  Our teachers use a variety of formative assessments to help them plan instruction and challenge students.  I encourage parents to work with your child and child's teachers to support learning and inquiry. Our mission is to ensure that all learners acquire knowledge, develop skills, and build character to achieve personal greatness and help create a better global society by providing innovative, comprehensive programs, respecting individual learning styles and cultural differences, and fostering caring and nurturing relationships, while engaging each student, every family, and the entire community.  That is what we will continue to do with your help, support, and engagement.  

-DDO