The 2018 Illinois Report Card released on Oct. 31 by the Illinois State Board of Education features a new system that separates public schools throughout the state into four tiers — lowest-performing, underperforming, commendable and exemplary.
In D209, Proviso East was designated lowest-performing, Proviso West was designated commendable while Proviso Math and Science Academy was designated exemplary.
Each designation is based on 10 weighted measures of student performance, which are different for grade schools and high schools.
In grade schools (pre-K through eighth grade), measures include chronic absenteeism (weighted 10 percent); performance on various standardized test scores and evaluations, including PARCC (worth a combined total weight of more than 40 percent); and academic growth (50 percent).
An exemplary school is one whose performance is in the top 10 percent of schools statewide, according to ISBE, while a commendable school has most of the characteristics of an exemplary school, but "whose performance is not in the top 10 percent of schools statewide."
An underperforming school has at least one student demographic group performing at a proficiency levels seen in the lowest 5 percent of all schools in the state.
"By definition, an underperforming school is really a commendable school that happens to have a student group that's not performing at the expected level," Ralph Grimm, chief education officer for the ISBE, told NPR Illinois.
According to ISBE, around 70 percent of public schools in the state were designated commendable, while 15 percent were designated underperforming on this year's report card.
Schools designated lowest-performing are the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in the state.
Underperforming and lowest-performing schools will undergo an improvement process that includes a needs assessment, additional federal funding and more state resources.
"The purpose of the designation is to drive resources to the students in the greatest need," said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith in a statement. "No single data point can capture what makes a school great. We encourage schools to use the designation as a tool to communicate about strengths and challenges and to engage communities and stakeholders in the success of all students."
"The new designations on the State Report Card present a positive trajectory earned through collective work demonstrating levels of success," said D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez in a statement the district released on Nov. 1.
Rodriguez said that the district "welcomes the changes" in this year's report card, but emphasized that the designations are "not a complete picture of our performance."
He said that the district will use the report card data "in conjunction with our internal data to inform our continuous improvement efforts."
For more detailed information on each school's and/or district's Report Card data, visit https://www.illinoisreportcard.com/.