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The 2015-16 school year will be one of significant progress toward new ways of measuring, recognizing, and supporting student and educator achievement to foster high-quality, meaningful instruction that ultimately prepares all students for college and careers. The Illinois State Board of Education is moving forward with our state-developed plan to close achievement gaps, provide appropriate supports to struggling districts, and promote effective teaching and leadership. This plan includes an improved accountability system based on multiple measures that more accurately reflect schools’ progress, learning environments, and needs for improvement. Our efforts to date have paved the way for this new system, including a review and update of all learning standards and new state assessments aligned to these new standards and expectations. Below is an overview of the current efforts shaping teaching and learning in Illinois:
- The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS)— KIDS is a tool for measuring school readiness across various developmental domains. ISBE has modified the KIDS implementation plan to collect and report school readiness data for all kindergartners over the next three school years.
- 2015-16 State Assessments—The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment in English language arts and math has returned this spring with a shorter, simpler format to improve the testing process while still providing reliable and valid information about student achievement. The assessment continues to line up with the rigor and scope of Illinois’ higher expectations focused on college and career readiness. A new college entrance exam is also planned for spring 2016.
- Science Standards and Assessment – The Illinois Learning Standards in science are based on the Next Generation Science Standards and emphasize a more engaged, hands-on science education. The state will administer a new science assessment to students in grades 5, 8 and once at the high school level starting in spring 2016.
- Progress and Supports— Please note that due to the recent passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, this section will be updated. Stay tuned for revised materials to be posted.
- Teacher Evaluations— Districts continue to implement, or plan to implement, a new comprehensive educator evaluation system that incorporates multiple measures of student growth and professional practice.
- Learning Standards Review— Illinois continues to make progress on a complete review and update of all learning standards, including science, physical education and health, arts, and social studies. Illinois is also a national leader in social and emotional learning and provides technical assistance and professional development to help schools address the individual needs of students.
- Family Engagement – ISBE has developed guidance to promote the vital partnership between parents and the school community to achieve student success.
School readiness in kindergarten plays a crucial role in putting children on track for academic success throughout elementary school, high school, postsecondary school, and beyond. Children enter kindergarten from different backgrounds and with a variety of early childhood education experiences. To facilitate smoother transitions from early childhood programs to kindergarten and from kindergarten to first grade for all children, ISBE has launched the Illinois Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS). KIDS is a statewide initiative that will give teachers, parents, administrators, and policymakers a better understanding of childhood development and the opportunity to close school readiness gaps by identifying and addressing students’ needs early. The survey is based on observations of the student in typical daily activities with familiar people. Teachers monitor kindergartners’ progress across different developmental domains, including language and literacy development and social and emotional development. The observation data will be used to rate students three times during the year. The process recognizes that young children develop at different rates and that a single observation cannot provide an accurate portrayal of a student’s capabilities.
After a three-year pilot process, ISBE has decided to extend the implementation of KIDS over the next three school years, with all schools collecting and reporting school readiness data for all kindergartners during the 2017-18 school year. This school year districts should be training administrators and teachers so they become familiar with the KIDS process and practice and strengthen their observational skills.
In response to feedback from school districts, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment in English language arts and math has returned this spring with a shorter, simpler format to improve the testing process while still providing reliable and valid information about student achievement. The assessment continues to line up with the rigor and scope of Illinois’ higher expectations focused on college and career readiness. The testing window for the 2016 administration opened March 7 and continues through June 10. Districts were able to select their 30-day testing period within this time frame.
Illinois schools successfully completed the first administration of the PARCC assessment in spring 2015. More than 75 percent of students took the PARCC assessment online and no major statewide technical outages were reported.
ISBE developed a toolkit to help administrators and educators understand and explain the district, school, and individual student results from the 2015 PARCC exam administration. The PARCC assessment score toolkit is available below and provides FAQs, talking points, fact sheets, sample score reports, and other materials that outline what the results will look like, what they will mean for schools and students, and how educators and parents can use the results to tailor instruction and supports for each child at an earlier age to promote college and career readiness.
ISBE will also administer a new science assessment to students in spring 2016. For more information about the new Illinois Science Assessment and the Illinois Learning Standards in science, please see the Science Standards and Assessment section.
Assessment Fact Sheets
- PARCC Assessment 2016 Fact Sheet Word Version (3/16)
- PARCC Testing: What’s New in 2016 List (3/16)
- August 2015 Assessment Update Fact Sheet Word Version (8/15)
Assessment FAQs (2/11/16)
PARCC Score Toolkit (2/25/16) - Spanish versions now available!
- Download Complete Toolkit (2/25/16)
- Illinois Report Card - A Guide to Understanding PARCC Scores
- PARCC Score Report Interpretation Guides
Administrators and educators are encouraged to use these documents as an additional resource to share with the PARCC test’s individual student reports so parents can read a more in-depth explanation of their students’ scores and the various performance levels.
- 2016 Archived Assessment Documents
- Parents' Guide to New Assessment in Illinois
- National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
- ISBE Parent Resources
- Illinois Learning Standards and PARCC Timeline
- PARCC Page for Parents
Click here to access PARCC Assessment Webinars and Presentations
Click here to access PARCC Assessment Video Series
Illinois’ current science standards became effective in February 2014 and are based on the Next Generation Science Standards. The Illinois Learning Standards in science emphasize a more engaged, hands-on science education that aims to give students a deeper understanding of the core concepts in science and engineering as well as practice applying those concepts – linking knowledge and real-world skills. Schools began implementing the standards in 2014, with full implementation set for the 2016-17 school year.
Starting in spring 2016, Illinois will administer the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) to students enrolled in grades 5, 8 and once at the high school level. The ISA will be given online, and the high school assessment uses a course-based model with content aligned to Biology I. Illinois has an item-sharing agreement with the Office of the State Superintendent in the District of Columbia and is working in partnership with D.C. to develop the ISA. More details about the assessment are available at www.isbe.net/assessment/isa.htm.
- Fact Sheets
- Illinois Science Assessment FAQ (3/23/16)
- Similarities Between 1997 ILS and 2014 ILS (NGSS) (2/3/16)
- Differences Between 1997 ILS and 2014 ILS (NGSS) (2/25/16)
Please note that due to the recent passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, this section will be updated. The ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. ISBE believes the law will enhance local control and hold educators accountable while also providing more flexibility to meet the unique needs of each student in our state. Updated materials reflecting the latest developments will be posted soon.
Progress and Supports Fact Sheets - Under Revision
- Fact Sheet Word Version
Three Things You Need to Know About Progress and Supports - Under Revision
Progress and Supports Talking Points - Under Revision
- District Progress and Supports Word Version
Signed into law in 2010, the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) requires new teacher and principal evaluation models that consider student growth as well as professional practice. The new evaluation systems provide statewide consistency for what outstanding teaching and leadership should look like.
Implementation is phased, with all school districts to incorporate student growth into their educator evaluation ratings no later than the 2016-17 school year. PERA allows districts local control as they form agreements with teachers/union representatives to develop their own evaluation systems that meet minimum state standards. A district defaults to the state model regarding the use of data and indicators of student growth for those aspects that cannot be agreed upon.
Under the new evaluation systems, standardized test results do not determine a teacher’s future in Illinois as student growth is only a portion of an educator’s evaluation rating. Districts may choose between national, state, and locally developed assessments and must use at least two types of assessments.
Click here for more information.
Teacher Evaluations Fact Sheet
Three Things You Need to Know About Evaluations
Teacher Evaluation Talking Points
The Illinois Learning Standards in English language arts and math were adopted in 2010 and have since transformed the way teachers engage and challenge their students through their emphasis on critical thinking and real-world application. The higher expectations of the updated learning benchmarks paved the way for a complete review and update of all learning standards. In January 2014, the State Board adopted new science benchmarks, known as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which will be fully implemented by schools during the 2016-17 school year. The revised Illinois Learning Standards for physical development and health are now in place, with full implementation slated for the upcoming school year.
A review of the state’s arts and social science standards is also in progress. More challenging learning standards that are relevant to 21st-century careers and experiences will provide our students with a well-rounded education that fosters their development into critical and creative thinkers, collaborative problem solvers, and healthy, civic-minded citizens.
Learning Standards Fact Sheets
- Learning Standards Review Fact Sheet Word Version
- ILS ELA Standards Fact Sheet
- ILS Math Standards Fact Sheet
Three Things You Need to Know About the Learning Standards
Learning Standards Talking Points
ISBE believes meaningful family engagement is a cornerstone of effective schools. Meaningful family engagement is based on the belief that parents, educators, and community members all share responsibility for a child’s education and well-being. Families have a stake in all aspects of our education system and are key partners in every area of school improvement.
In the response to the need for more support with family engagement, the agency has brought together research, best practices, and trainings to give districts, schools, and families tools to help build and expand school-family partnerships. At the center of ISBE’s efforts is a set of principles and strategies, called the ISBE Family Engagement Framework.
- Welcome Back Letter to Families
- Back to School Webinar for Parents– Recorded Sept. 23, 2015
- Family Engagement Fact Sheet Word Version
2015 Report Card
On Oct. 30, the 2015 Report Card was posted at www.illinoisreportcard.com, with data including student and teacher demographics, enrollment, district-level financial information, Illinois 5Essentials Survey information, graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment, and the percentage of freshmen on track. This year’s Report Card showcases new metrics and features to show a more complete picture of school climate and students’ progress toward college and career readiness.
Data involving student academic growth and achievement was posted to the Report Card on Dec. 11. This data is based on student-, school-, and district-level PARCC test results. A guide to understanding PARCC scores on the Illinois Report Card is available here.
- What does it mean for students to be career and college ready?
- Why does college and career readiness matter for students?
- Why do we need new state assessments?
- What can we learn from the new state assessments?
- What do the new standards and assessments mean for students?
- What will the new state assessments tell parents?
- What is PARCC?
- What does PARCC measure?
- Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) Fact Sheet Word Version
- Assessment Update 2015-16 Fact Sheet Word Version
- PARCC Assessment 2016 Fact Sheet Word Version (3/16)
- PARCC Testing: What’s New in 2016 List (3/16)
- PARCC Assessments 2015 Fact Sheet Word Version