The Illinois Learning Standards (ILS) have guided schools in providing high quality learning opportunities for Illinois students since adoption in 1997. Expectations for what all students must know and be able to demonstrate have changed during the past 13 years. Other indications of the need to update standards include:
- ILS have been observed as over complicated, yet lacking in depth and rigor.
- Upon first entering higher education, an unacceptable high percentage of Illinois graduates must complete non credit bearing classes in math and/or ELA.
The new Illinois Standards incorporating the common core establish clear expectations for student achievement through fewer, clearer and higher academic standards for essential learning and skills. These standards provide benchmarks for academic progress (skills and knowledge) that students should have at the conclusion of each grade level. This provides students and parents with a clear picture of the specific knowledge students are expected to attain each year.
Design and Organization of the Illinois Standards
The K- 12 Math Standards are organized by Domain, Clusters, and Standards.
- Domain: Overarching ideas that connect topics across the grade levels.
Ex: Number and Operations in Base Ten.
- Clusters: Demonstrate the grade by grade progression of task complexity
Ex: Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.
- Standards: Define what a student should be able to know and do at that grade level.
Ex: Use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100.
The new standards for Grades 7 and 8 include improved expectations for algebra and geometry. There are additional mathematics standards for students to learn who take advanced courses such as calculus, advanced statistics, or discrete mathematics.
English Language Arts
- The K-12 ELA standards are benchmarked to the College and Career Readiness Standards.
- K-8 Standards are listed by grade level.
- Standards in grades 9 -12 are listed in two year bands to allow flexibility in course design.
- The standards are separated into four strands: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.