Illinois’ plan safeguards against student subgroups being hidden under averages or summative grades.
Illinois has proposed a strong policy that a school may not receive the top two designations (exemplary or commendable) if it has a consistently underperforming subgroup. However, without data, there is concern that the state’s definition of “consistently underperforming” subgroups may set a very low bar. Because it focuses only on groups performing at the bottom 5 percent of the state, schools may continue to maintain significant gaps, so long as subgroup performance does not fall below the bottom 5 percent.
Illinois proposes a strategy to identify separate subgroups of former students with disabilities and former English language learners and report on their progress.
Including these individuals – in addition to current students with disabilities and ELLs – as their own group will allow educators and policymakers to easily see how those students perform after they are no longer receiving services.
Illinois’ n-sizes are appropriate but participation rate requirements are concerning.
The state’s n-size for reporting (10) and accountability (20) are appropriate for balancing the needs of privacy and transparency, but the plan’s approach to the 95 percent participation requirement is concerning, as it only limits schools being rated in the top category (i.e., the top 10 percent of schools in the state) and to those that miss the target for three consecutive years.