Illinois school report cards released

Oct 31, 2013

Thursday is report card day across Illinois. It’s not students who are being graded, but schools and school districts. At first glance, the news is not good. But as IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, state officials say it’s a one-time blip because of a change in the grading.

On paper, Illinois students appear to be doing quite poorly. The percentage of those meeting state standards dropped from 82.1 percent in 2012 to 58.8 percent in 2013. We learned that last month, the latest release of numbers shows the same trend at the level of individual schools and districts. Except state officials say that’s not actually what’s happening.

Mary O’Brien is in charge of assessments at the Illinois State Board of Education. She says Illinois raised the level students needed to meet. And, as expected, that means student performance has appeared to drop.

“It does not reflect, however, on students as groups or individuals. But (it’s) just the reflection of our raising the bar."

O’Brien says they had to “raise the bar” in order to bring assessment of elementary school students in line with how high schoolers are evaluated. She says if this year’s standards were applied retroactively, student performance would appear to have shown some improvement over the past several years.

You can find the report card on your local school or district at