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Superintendent's Note

From the desk of Jim McKay

Posted: October, 31, 2017 - 10:13am

2017 Illinois Report Card shows upward trends

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today released the 2017 Illinois Report Card at http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getSearchCriteria.aspx. The annual Illinois Report Card shows the performance and progress of schools, districts, and the state overall on a wide range of educational metrics. The www.illinoisreportcard.com interactive website will go live on Friday, Nov. 3. The Data Quality Campaign and the Education Commission of the States have praised the Illinois Report Card as comprehensive and easy to understand.

State-level data on the 2017 Illinois Report Card show students achieved gains in a number of indicators from the 2015-16 school year to the 2016-17 school year. Student outcomes improved in English language arts achievement on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment, the four-year graduation rate, college enrollment rates, Advanced Placement participation and success, the community college remediation rate, ninth-grade students on track to graduate, and eighth-grade students passing Algebra I. 

“The 2017 Illinois Report Card demonstrates our students’ and educators’ tremendous capacity for growth,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “We are making real progress. Our educators and educational leaders are diving into the data to uncover what’s working and to identify new strategies and partnerships to support the whole child. At the Those Who Excel banquet on Saturday, I had the opportunity to honor hundreds of extraordinary educators who are doing exceptional work. We have so much talent in our state. We need to accelerate the growth we’re seeing by facilitating connections and knowledge-sharing between schools and districts.

“The strengths and opportunities apparent in the data show that our balanced accountability system is looking at the right measures. Educators know how students’ attendance and success at critical transition points like the third grade, the ninth grade, and the first year of college strongly correlate to future success. Accountability starts with focusing on the numbers that matter for students. Illinois’ Every Student Succeeds Act Plan uses data and local context to drive appreciative inquiry and inform more holistic supports.

“Illinois’ educators and students worked incredibly hard under extreme financial uncertainty. Their passion and dedication is clear. The state is committed to exploring new ways to attract highly qualified and diverse professionals to answer the call to teach. With more equitable funding and our Illinois ESSA Plan in place, I believe we are on the right path to create the conditions for students to thrive.”

The 2017 Illinois Report Card includes data for the first statewide administration of the SAT. All 11th-grade students took the SAT in the spring of 2017 as both a free college entrance exam and Illinois’ high school accountability assessment for math and English language arts.

The new Illinois SAT Performance Levels, determined through an educator-led process, show how well Illinois students know the Illinois Learning Standards in math and English language arts. The four levels (Exceeds Standards, Meets Standards, Approaching Standards, and Partially Meets Standards) indicate different levels of mastery of the Illinois Learning Standards. Illinois educators use the Illinois SAT Performance Levels to see how well their curriculum and instruction align to the state’s learning standards. The Illinois Learning Standards and the Illinois SAT Performance Levels are intentionally rigorous to further the goal of reducing the number of graduates who need to take remedial courses in college.

State-level highlights from the 2017 Illinois Report Card include:

Academic achievement:

The spring 2017 statewide administration of the SAT established Illinois’ new baseline for high school student achievement: 39.8 percent of 11th-grade students achieved proficiency in English language arts and 36.4 percent achieved proficiency in math. Students will continue to have access to free, supplemental, online resources from Kahn Academy to improve their mastery of Illinois Learning Standards assessed by the SAT.
The percentage of third- through eighth-grade students meeting or exceeding standards in English language arts on the PARCC assessment increased from 36.5 percent in 2016 to 37 percent in 2017.
The percentage of third- through eighth-grade students meeting or exceeding standards in math on the PARCC assessment decreased from 31.6 percent in 2016 to 31.2 percent in 2017.

College enrollment and preparation:

The four-year high school graduation rate increased from 85.5 percent to 87 percent.
The percentage of students enrolled in college 12 months after graduating also increased from 67.8 percent to 69.5 percent.
The percentage of students enrolled in college 16 months after graduating increased from 71.4 percent to 73.2 percent.
The percentage of Illinois public high school graduates enrolled in Illinois community colleges taking remedial courses improved from 49.4 percent for the class of 2015 graduates to 46.8 percent for the class of 2016 graduates.
The number of students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades taking advanced course work (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual credit courses) increased from 154,290 in 2016 to 160,657 in 2017.
The number of students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades taking Advanced Placement courses increased from 112,156 in 2016 to 116,505 in 2017.
The number of Advanced Placement exams taken by the 12th-grade class at any point during high school increased from 155,180 in 2016 to 167,009 in 2017.
The percent of Advanced Placement exams passed remained stable, increasing slightly from 65.9 percent in 2016 to 66.4 percent in 2017 of all exams taken by the 12th-grade class.
The number of students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades taking International Baccalaureate courses increased from 4,466 in 2016 to 9,988 in 2017.

Student success:

The percentage of ninth-grade students on track to graduate increased from 82.4 percent in 2016 to 87.1 percent in 2017.
The number of eighth-grade students passing Algebra I increased from 28.4 percent in 2016 to 29.5 percent in 2017.
Concern: The rate of chronic truancy increased from 9.8 percent in 2016 to 10.8 percent in 2017. Chronic truancy measures the percentage of students who miss 5 percent or more of school days per year without a valid excuse.

Educator workforce:

The teacher retention rate increased from 85.8 percent in 2016 to 86.3 percent in 2017.
The principal turnover remained stable, increasing slightly from 1.9 principals at the same school in six years in 2016 to two principals in 2017.
Overall teacher diversity remained mostly unchanged. In the 2016-17 school year, 83.3 percent of Illinois teachers were White, compared to 48.5 percent of Illinois students.
The average teacher salary increased by $1,066 from $63,450 in 2016 to $64,516 in 2017.
The average administrator salary increased by $2,639 from $103,634 in 2016 to $106,273 in 2017.

Additional data and information, including a glossary of Report Card terms and FAQ, are available at www.isbe.net/ilreportcarddata.

post Archive
  • Posted: September, 29, 2017 - 7:56am

    Advanced Placement data show results of state’s focus on equity

    SPRINGFIELD – The College Board released non-accountability reports of Advanced Placement (AP), SAT, and PSAT results from Illinois students statewide. State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D., issued the following statement:

    “The Advanced Placement (AP) data released by the College Board show increases across the board in the numbers of students taking AP exams and in the percentages of students performing well. The State Board committed to increasing access to AP classes and exams, especially among underrepresented student groups. School teams across the state embraced…

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  • Posted: September, 7, 2017 - 3:07pm

    U.S. Department of Education approves Illinois ESSA Plan

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Illinois State Board of Education officials say the state’s ESSA Plan incorporates feedback gathered from thousands of online comments and 100 in-person forums and meetings.  Under the Illinois ESSA Plan, multiple indicators of school quality and student growth will be collected and examined, and will be used to help schools perform better under a plan that specifically meets their unique needs. 

    Additionally, the Illinois ESSA Plan…

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  • Posted: August, 9, 2017 - 11:44am

    Welcome Back and While You Were Away

    Let me be the first to say welcome back, we are honored and happy to serve you and our communities!
    I would like to welcome the incoming Freshman Class of 2021!  We also welcome our upperclassman and anyone new to Community High School District 117; we truly look forward to ensuring that every student is offered the opportunity to grow and learn in a positive, safe, and engaging environment. Our dedicated and talented staff strives to realize our mission of Igniting the Passion and Discovery of Every Student.  We are very proud of our unwavering commitment to student growth…

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  • Posted: August, 7, 2017 - 4:55pm

    State Funding for Schools

    I want to provide residents of Community High School District 117 information regarding state funding for schools in Illinois for the 2017-18 school year as you may be familiar with this issue through the news media and other sources.

    Due to the inequality associated with the current Illinois school funding formula and its significant adverse consequences particularly to school districts with the greatest economic need, the legislature has developed a new funding formula designed with evidence based criteria to equitably support state funding for schools.  To date, the legislators…

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  • Posted: May, 31, 2017 - 11:36am


    ISBE submitted the ESSA State Plan for Illinois to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on April 1, 2017.  On April 10, 2017, ED identified a section of the plan that it considered incomplete.  This section included measurements of interim progress for academic attainment, graduation rate, and English Learner proficiency.  In the plan submitted on April 1, 2017, ISBE stated that it intends to develop measurements of interim progress based on three-year baseline data and that this data is currently unavailable due to not having three years of data from which to determine a baseline…

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  • Posted: April, 24, 2017 - 10:43am

    State Budget Impasse

    There is an effort statewide by many in a variety of public and private sectors including educators currently encouraging our state legislators to formulate and pass a responsible and responsive state budget. Below, are some of the consequences and concerns shared by many as a result of the current budget impasse.

    All areas of society, including Illinois public school students, have suffered the consequences of Illinois’ financial problems over the past couple decades. For nearly the past two years, Illinois has operated with just a partial budget for education and “stopgap”or band-aid…

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  • Posted: January, 5, 2017 - 11:51am

    Community High School District 117 asks the voters at the April 4th Election

    The Board of Education passed a resolution (December 8, 2016) that places a question on the ballot of the April 4th, 2017 election.  The question asks voters of the District whether all Board Members should be elected At-Large.  District residents will have the opportunity to cast their vote regarding this question at the Tuesday; April 4th, 2017 consolidated election.

    The reason for the question stems from the current difficulty in sustaining representation from the unincorporated areas of the District.  Since at least 1965, it has been required that the unincorporated…

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  • Posted: November, 28, 2016 - 1:59pm

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    The holiday season should be a positive, sentimental and enduring time filled with family gatherings and friendship.  Unfortunately, too often, this idyllic time is not enjoyed by our students or families but rather represents a time of struggle both financially and emotionally.  Compounded with the unprecedented negative rhetoric of recent political campaigns and the ongoing pockets of civil unrest, in our country, our students may be even more vulnerable. 

    That is why it is critically important to reaffirm the strength and positive power of our schools. Community High…

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  • Posted: September, 30, 2016 - 12:00am

    Far Too Common!

    On September 29th, the national evening news reported once again on a tragic school shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina. The threats of violence in schools and society are becoming far too common and sadly, in my opinion, creating a new “normal”.  While Community High School District 117 encounters threatening situations occasionally, it never becomes easier for parents, students, staff or our greater community to accept.  These threats of violence are senseless and require immeasurable resources on the part of our schools and communities.  We take these…

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  • Posted: August, 30, 2016 - 11:02am

    Illinois Class of 2016 average ACT score up slightly as national average declines

    SPRINGFIELD — Results released today in ACT’s annual score report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2016,” show Illinois’ graduating seniors achieved an average composite score of 20.8, an increase of 0.1 over last year’s score. The national average composite score on the ACT fell from 21.0 to 20.8.

    “Our graduates continue to show progress,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The work of improving opportunities for all students and increasing the pace of progress is one we approach with urgency.”

    Illinois’ graduating…

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Ignite passion and discovery in every student
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