Amid a challenging pandemic year, many suburban schools struggled to help students meet proficiency standards in English and mathematics, saw declines in student performance and enrollment.
Those are some of the highlights of the 2021 Illinois Report Card.
Suburban schools, districts and communities now can find out just how their students performed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Illinois State Board of Education has released school- and district-level assessment data from the 2020-21 school year.
The data provide communities with more insight into the impact of remote learning last year and what supports students need to recover.
To search for your school’s results, visit illinoisreportcard.com.
Preliminary spring testing data released in October from most schools statewide show steep declines in students attaining proficiency in math and English language arts across grade levels -- 17.8% and 16.6%, respectively.
Among English learners, the decline in meeting standards was stark: 51.5% in English language arts and 54% in math. Similarly, low-income students saw a 31% drop in English and 38.7% dip in math, while special needs students saw declines of 30.4% in English and 23.5% in math.
Yet, some districts bucked the trend and saw increases in students attaining proficiency by using federal pandemic relief funding and evidence-based practices to achieve growth, officials said.
Among them is DuPage High School District 88, which saw a 13% 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. It also provided in-person and online tutoring, investing in technology for remote instruction, conducted home visits, and concentrated on social-emotional supports.
Northbrook District 28 saw a 14.1% increase in third-graders meeting or exceeding standards on the Illinois Assessment of Readiness math test. Districtwide math proficiency increased 6.4%.
Nearly 80% of students learned in person while 20% attended a Remote Learning Academy during the 2020-21 school year. The district hired 14 additional teachers for one year and expanded its instructional technology initiatives to provide both learning programs.
“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,” State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said. “Every school district has had a unique experience during the pandemic, with different strengths and challenges.”
State education officials are encouraging school districts to use the P-20 Council’s Learning Renewal Resource Guide, combined with the 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, community partnerships, summer school, tutoring, and trauma-informed supports.
To date, 534 out of 939 school districts and other local education agencies have submitted applications for the third round of funding.
Statewide, school districts had the option to give last school year’s federally required assessments either during an extended window in the spring or in the fall of this year due to pandemic disruptions.
The data released Thursday reflects 90% of school districts that opted to test in the spring. That includes results from the Illinois Assessment of Readiness and the SAT college entrance exam, which test students’ mastery of grade-level standards in math and English language arts in third through eighth grades and 11th grade, respectively.
Results from districts that opted to test in the fall will be available next April, along with final state-level data.