Illinois’ proposed school classification system is potentially misleading.
The state may want to work with parent stakeholder groups to make sure its proposed color-coding system aligns with school performance levels.
Additionally, the state proposes rating schools on either a single year of data or a three-year rolling average (whichever is higher), which will create an artificial floor for schools and give schools only the benefit of positive results without the consequences of any downswings.
Illinois’ identification of schools with consistently underperforming students only meets the bare-minimum requirement.
The state’s identification of schools with consistently underperforming students is limited to schools with a subgroup performing at the bottom 5 percent. Illinois should consider developing an additional definition of “consistently underperforming” subgroup and identify/support these schools as well. Also, it is unclear what designation would be given to schools that do not receive Title I funding, and what, if any, support will be provided.
Finally, Illinois’ plan would be much stronger if it actually modeled out what its choices would mean for schools using existing data (until three years of data are available). Illinois won’t know whether it is accomplishing its desired objectives until it starts applying its decisions to actual data.