Illinois’ vision clearly drove the development of its ESSA plan.
Illinois has articulated a vision of “whole, healthy children nestled in whole, healthy systems,” and it cites stakeholder buy-in for the vision. The state has also established an overarching goal of having 60 percent of Illinoisans with a high-quality degree or postsecondary credential by 2025.
Illinois identifies long-term goals with high expectations, aligning K-12 and higher ed.
Illinois expects 90 percent of students to meet expectations by 2032 (i.e., third-graders reading on level, fifth-graders proficient in math, ninth-graders on track to graduate, high school graduation/college and career ready). These milestones are intended to align with the state’s postsecondary attainment goal, which is a strong aspiration. An intentional alignment between K-12 and higher education goals should be a model for other states. In addition, Illinois maintains the same goal for all subgroups, which sends a message that the state has high expectations for every student.
Illinois’ long-term goals for its five- and six-year graduation rates are the same as its four-year rate (90 percent). The state could strengthen its plan by setting higher goals for its extended-year rates than its four-year rate
The state has set student-level goals for English language acquisition.
Illinois articulated a reasonable method for using a growth-to-target model for setting interim student-level goals for English-language acquisition. The state is waiting for more current data on English language proficiency, and in the meantime has provided placeholder goals that it plans to update in the near future.