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State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders met with educators, administrators, parents, students, and other stakeholders as a part of his first 100 days in office. Three problems of practice emerged as barriers to sustainable improvements in student outcomes:

  1. Restrictive cut scores mislabel students who on track for college or career as “not proficient,” which gives inaccurate information to educators and makes assessment data less useful.
  2. The accountability system lacks clear performance criteria for each designation. The goal posts move every year, making it harder for districts to set improvement goals and track their progress. A district might actually improve its academic performance from one year to the next, but drop in its accountability designation, disincentivizing the pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement.
  3. The accountability system labels 70% of schools as Commendable, including schools with vastly different academic outcomes. Misleading data prevents our Statewide System of Support from effectively engaging all schools in continuous improvement.

ISBE will pursue three independent but interrelated improvements to our assessment and accountability system with the goal of building on the positives in the current system while addressing these problems of practice:

  1. Realigning our definition of proficiency to improve coherence across grades and subjects and take into account the relationship of proficiency to other important measures of student academic success.
  2. Making adjustments to our accountability system to provide more accurate and more actionable information to districts and schools in support of continuous school improvement.
  3. Connecting data on school performance to pillars in the Statewide System of Support to provide support to all districts and schools, regardless of designation.

The Illinois State Board of Education is engaging stakeholders in the redesign of the assessment and accountability system with the goal of implementing new proficiency benchmarks on the 2025 Report Card and updating the accountability framework and Statewide System of Support on the 2026 Report Card. Find more information on the assessment and accountability processes and stakeholder engagement opportunities below.​

 Assessment Unified Proficiency Standard Setting

Policy Level Working Group

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