| For Immediate Release
November 17, 2004
New State Board of Education team and Illinois schools
clean up School Report Cards
Launches re-design of Report Card and
begins plans to speed up reporting
Springfield, Ill. Working together with Illinois
school districts, the new State Board of Education has
corrected the errors in this years School Report
Cards, which were distributed to districts today. The
new State Board leadership avoided the problems that plagued
last years report cards, which caused more than
400 Illinois schools to be incorrectly identified as not
making adequate yearly progress (AYP). The Board also
announced plans to speed up the release of future report
cards, and to redesign the report cards to make them easier
for districts and parents to use.
In preparation for distribution of the 2003-2004 School
Report Cards, the State Board worked with local school
districts to correct the data errors impacting more than
1,900 schools. The agency will now forward the Report
Card data to districts for review and discussion with
local school boards. Districts and schools will issue
their respective cards.
The State Board will issue individual student test scores
to schools on December 15.
The data correction process began in September, less
than one week after Interim State Superintendent Randy
Dunn was appointed by the new State Board of Education.
At that time State Board staff identified more than 1900
schools with data discrepancies, prompting Dunn and the
State Board staff to launch an aggressive effort to correct
the data. The State Board re-opened the data correction
period so that schools and agency staff could work together
to correct the errors.
There were terrible problems with errors on last
years report cards, said Dunn. We knew
we couldnt let that happen under our leadership.
The agency staff worked hand in hand with the districts
to pinpoint and fix the problems so that the information
we provide to schools will be accurate.
Last years inaccurate data release resulted in
significant problems for local schools, many of which
were incorrectly labeled as not having made AYP, the critical
performance measure for schools under the federal No Child
Left Behind Act. In addition to the hundreds of inaccuracies
last year, the data were also issued to schools later
than this years release.
It was good to work so closely with the State Board
this year to fix the problems, said Ben Schwarm,
Illinois School Boards Association representative. We
never had this kind of cooperation from the agency in
the past. It was a big help to us and to our schools.
Working directly with the schools, our staff has
accomplished amazing results. They gave up holidays, weekends
and evenings to make it happen, said Dunn. We
appreciate our staffs dedication and the districts
commitment to work with us on this problem. We pledge
to them that we will make the process better in the future.
The State Board has already begun work on future plans
to improve responsiveness to schools and increase agency
accountability for data accuracy throughout the process.
The agency will also make changes to the timeline so that
schools have their final data much sooner and can distribute
their School Report Cards much earlier in the year.
"This is a good example of what can be accomplished
when the State Board and local schools work hand-in-hand,"
said Dr. John Dively, President of the Illinois Principals
Association. "We applaud Randy for his leadership."
In addition, the State Board will work with the Illinois
Parent Teacher Association to launch an effort to redesign
school report cards in a way that makes them more user-friendly.
To make suggestions, go to www.isbe.net and click on Report
Card Ideas in the Education Ideas box.
Parents need to have accurate information about
their childrens schools, in an easy to understand
format, said Gayla Boomer, Illinois Parent Teacher
Association President. On behalf of our members
and all parents in Illinois, I look forward to working
with Superintendent Dunn to make Illinois school
report cards more user-friendly.