Schools Show Signs of Progress on Adopting Standards
September 21, 2001
schools have taken an important step toward implementing the Illinois
Learning Standards (ILS), a report by two
DeStefano and Nona Prestine found that the state has reached the
level of transitioning to an ILS-led system. Teachers
rated the level of implementation at their schools, with 43 percent
of responding schools falling in this category, more than doubling
over the previous year's 18 percent.
Lizanne DeStefano and Nona Prestine found that the state has reached the level of transitioning to an ILS-led system. Teachers rated the level of implementation at their schools, with 43 percent of responding schools falling in this category, more than doubling over the previous year's 18 percent.
State Board of Education heard a report on the study Wednesday
at its September meeting in
There are several characteristics common among schools transitioning to an ILS-led system, including:
Successful schools have developed complete assessment systems that measure the ILS on a continuing basis.
Board members also received a report on the Standards-Aligned Classroom Initiative, a program to provide training and support to teachers by establishing teams of teachers and administrators in implementing the ILS. Teachers who took part in the initiative showed a significant increase in their confidence in working with the ILS and implementing them in their classrooms.
teams - which included both teachers and administrators - helped
participants understand the principles of a standards-led system;
the knowledge and skills embedded in the ILS; and the value of
student involvement in classroom assessment. Coaches
in the Regional Offices of Education worked with and assisted the
to the report on the initiative, written by
Not only did Wolfe find that teachers had more confidence in working with the ILS after participating in the program, he also found several specific steps that helped raise teachers' confidence even further. The greatest increases were for teachers at schools where the team meetings took place more frequently and schools where the meetings regularly included an administrator.
McGee said the Standards-Aligned Classroom Initiative highlighted an approach that schools and districts around the state can adapt for use in their own efforts to bring rigorous standards into the classroom.
important factor was changes in classroom instruction. In
other words, schools recognized that the standards would lead not
only to changes classroom instruction as well as in the curriculum. The
focus of instruction moved away from rote memorization and basic
drill and toward problem-solving and high-order thinking.
As a result of their study, DeStefano and Prestine made several recommendations. One of the key recommendations is to build capacity at the district level for effective implementation of the ILS. Successful implementation of the ILS most often came where district administrators helped to drive change in schools and classrooms.
pointed out that the key findings of each report supported and
built on the key findings of the other report.
"We are learning what works best," said McGee. "We're working to make sure that educators at every level - from the State Board down to the classroom - have the training, tools, support and materials they need to help every student reach the Illinois Learning Standards."
Both reports are available on line: the year three report from DeStefano and Prestine at www.isbe.net/news/pdf/ils0901.pdf and the Standards-Aligned Classroom Initiative evaluation at www.isbe.net/news/pdf/sac0901.pdf.