Plan retains reliance on standardized test metrics, but moves away from “No Child Left Behind.” The new plan approved by the Illinois State Board of Education creates a revised grading system to assess public school districts on their performance. While “No Child Left Behind” was widely criticized for its concentration on imposing proficiency guidelines on challenged school districts, the 2017 ISBE plan concentrates on academic growth metrics. Schools and school districts will be positively reinforced for showing healthy movements, including movements from a challenged or low baseline.
The ISBE plan follows the replacement of No Child Left Behind by the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015. Illinois, like other states, has been asked to adopt a plan that sets long-term goals, determine metrics for measuring progress towards these goals, and create a system to identify and support challenged schools and school districts. By 2032, the ISBE plan looks forward to at least 90% of children and adolescents meeting a series of age-appropriate goals. At least 90% of high school graduates should leave school in a state of readiness for college and career.
The ISBE’s reliance on standardized tests will continue to be key factors in determining whether these age-appropriate goals are being met. The ISBE will continue to use standardized tests to determine whether third graders are reading “at or above grade level” and fifth graders are “meeting or exceeding expectations” in math.