Illinois new report cards on public schools become available online today. But parents hoping to find a simple snapshot of how their kids' school measures up might be in for a surprise.
Thanks to a federal waiver received in April, Illinois schools are no longer judged by whether students have achieved "adequate yearly progress" -- the standard set by No Child Left Behind.
Instead, the Illinois State Board of Education has introduced a new gauge called the "growth metric," presented as a bar graph that uses 100 as the x axis. The state average scores hover just above or below.
In a recent press conference, state school superintendent Chris Koch explained that this metric is part of the state's transition from ISAT tests to the new Common Core tests.
"I'm sure that the AYP designation alone wasn't really healthy .... That was far too crude," Koch said. I'm glad we're moving away from it. We should have. I would've liked to have done it sooner had the waiver been approved more rapidly."
Koch said scores will go down again next year, due to the more difficult tests.
The report cards are online at illinoisreportcard.com.