What You Should Know About the New Illinois Public Schools Data

Another round of new public school data has been released as part of the annual Illinois Report Card, including student and teacher demographics, ACT scores and financial information.

While the objective of the statewide education report card is to provide parents, teachers, administrators and the public with more insights on how Illinois' schoolchildren are performing academically, some key data has yet to be published -- namely the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) scores from last spring -- and those results won't be released until at least late November.

Illinois is one of 11 states now administering the PARCC exam, which is based on more rigorous Common Core standards. The exam replaced both the ISAT and PSAE tests and may be used to phase out the ACT test as a determinant of college readiness, writes the Daily Herald's Susan Sarkauskas.

The new report card data show a dismal 46 percent of high school graduates were "ready for college," meaning more than half failed to score at least a 21 on the ACT. Statewide, the average score was 20.5.

Here's how students scored on the ACT by subject, with benchmark scores in parentheses:

  • English (18): 61 percent
  • Mathematics (22): 40 percent
  • Reading (22): 39 percent
  • Science (23): 35 percent
  • All subjects: 25 percent

Even more troubling, reports the Chicago Tribune:

  • Only 24.9 percent of 2015 public school graduates statewide scored high enough on all four ACT subjects to be considered college-ready. That percentage was up from 24.2 the year before.
  • Just 26 high schools in the state had 50 percent or more of their graduates reach those four college-ready scores, the Tribune found. And those schools are the perennial high performers, including high-ranking, selective-enrollment schools in Chicago and several affluent districts in Cook, Lake and DuPage counties.
  • Meanwhile, high-poverty schools in Chicago and downstate posted the lowest ACT scores in the state and some had less than 5 percent of students considered ready for college classes.

Here's what else you should know from the 2015 Illinois Report Card.