SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today released spring 2021 school- and district-level assessment data from the SAT and Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR). The data can inform local dialogue and decisions about allocating federal pandemic relief funds to support students' learning renewal. The data also highlight school districts statewide that overcame the odds and maintained or even boosted the number of students meeting standards during an extremely challenging year.
“Assessment data gives local communities more insight into the impact of the pandemic on their students and what they need to recover,"
said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “We are confident that the full return to safe, in-person learning and the significant state and federal investment in our schools will provide the conditions for all our students to thrive in the coming years. Every school district has had a unique experience during the pandemic, with different strengths and challenges. I applaud the dedication of our teachers and administrators in every single school and district for giving their all to Illinois' students."
ISBE reported in October, 16.6 percent fewer students met grade-level standards in English language arts in 2021 than in 2019 and 17.8 percent fewer students met grade-level standards in math. However, some school districts saw increases in students attaining proficiency. These school districts utilized federal pandemic relief funding and evidence-based practices to overcome tremendous obstacles and achieve growth in proficiency during a challenging year. For example:
DuPage High School District 88, a Tier 2 district in the Northeast region, saw a 13 percent increase in students meeting or exceeding standards on SAT reading. From the start of the school year, the district prioritized in-person instruction for high-need students, including English Learners and students with disabilities. The district provided in-person and online tutoring, made significant investments in technology for remote instruction, conducted home visits, and concentrated on social-emotional supports.
East Coloma-Nelson Consolidated Elementary School District 20, a Tier 2 district in the Northwest region, saw a 17.1 percent increase in third-grade students meeting or exceeding standards on IAR English language arts. The district reduced class sizes to allow for more one-on-one instruction and intervention for both in-person and remote students. The district attributes its success in part to communication with families being at an all-time high, including home visits if remote students did not log on for class.
Mascoutah Community Unit School District 19, a Tier 1 district in the Southwest region, saw an 80.9 percent increase in sixth-grade students meeting or exceeding standards on IAR math. The pandemic provided the district the opportunity to improve the consistency and depth of instruction across its classrooms. The district worked to identify essential learning standards, from the Illinois Learning Standards, for all courses and teachers used collaboration time to build their understanding of the learning goals and to prioritize key concepts. The district also provided in-depth professional learning for all staff on best practices to teach in a remote setting. Additionally, the district offered after school programming for students in need.
Morton Grove School District 70, a Tier 3 district in the Northeast region, saw a 35.5 percent increase in sixth-grade students meeting or exceeding standards on IAR English language arts. The district sought community input on its instructional plan, which led to smaller class sizes, 1:1 technology, and focused professional development. The district attributes its success to the implementation of one hour a day of collaborative time for instructional teams to co-plan and engage in professional inquiry focused on learning outcomes.
Northbrook School District 28, a Tier 4 district in the Northeast region, saw a 14.1 percent increase in third-grade students meeting or exceeding standards on IAR math and an overall district increase in math of 6.4 percent. The district served close to 80 percent of its students in-person and 20 percent in a Remote Learning Academy, balancing students' social-emotional needs with targeted instruction throughout the 2020-21 school year. The district hired 14 additional teachers for one year and expanded its instructional technology initiatives to provide the two learning programs.
West Prairie Community Unit District 103, a Tier 2 school district in the West Central region, saw a 104.9 percent increase in fourth-grade students meeting or exceeding standards on IAR math. The district served most of its students in person with synchronous learning for remote students. The district ended in-person learning at 1:30 p.m. and dedicated the remainder of the day for students needing extra assistance. The district also provided a six-week summer school program.
ISBE continues to encourage school districts to use the P-20 Council's
Learning Renewal Resource Guide, in combination with local student data, to develop evidence-based strategies to support students' recovery from the pandemic. Illinois schools have received more than
$7 billion in federal pandemic relief funding to fund interventions, such as after-school programming, summer school, tutoring, professional development, and trauma-informed supports. To date, 534 out of 939 school districts and other Local Education Agencies have submitted their applications for the third and largest round of funding.
The IAR and the SAT test students' mastery of grade-level standards in math and English language arts in Grades 3-8 and grade 11, respectively. The data released today represents the 90 percent of school districts that opted to test in the spring, instead of this fall.
View school- and district-level assessment data in interactive graphics on Illinois' award-winning Illinois Report Card at
illinoisreportcard.com or download the Public Data Set spreadsheet at