RELEASE: Illinois Gets Honest, Raises Expectations for Students

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Yesterday, the Illinois State Board of Education voted to approve the performance level threshold scores for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test given to students last spring. The vote signals the desire of Illinois leaders to raise the rigor for students and ensure they have demonstrated a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are ready for college-level coursework.

Illinois' new proficiency expectations are aligned with student performance on the national test. Previously, Illinois had low proficiency expectations, resulting in many students graduating from high school unprepared for the challenges of college, careers and the military.

"For years, students in Illinois public schools have been passing their state assessments in language arts and math under the false assumption that this verified proficiency in these critical subjects. Students and their families were being misled by tests that were too easy and passing scores that were set too low," said Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. "I congratulate Governor Bruce Rauner, State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith and Illinois leaders for putting an end to this charade by adopting more rigorous tests and setting passing scores at a level that reflects true, in-depth knowledge of the subjects. These are not easy decisions but necessary ones to ensure the future success of children."

Every state draws a line – also called the proficiency cut score – on their annual assessment to determine if a student is proficient in the subject. This proficiency cut score varies state-by-state.
The respected National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is considered the gold standard for measuring student proficiency. The difference between NAEP and individual states' proficiency expectations are wide and varied. This discrepancy is called a "proficiency gap."

Requiring more of students will always be harder than requiring less. But Illinois education officials have demonstrated a strong commitment to raising their proficiency expectations and creating an education system where every child masters the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful.

Read the llinois State Board of Education's release of details on the scores for the PARCC assessment and visit ExcelinEd's website for more facts, graphics and sharable content. Join the conversation online with the hashtag #ProficiencyMatters.

A photo accompanying this release is available at:

CONTACT: ExcelinEd Press Office 850.391.4090

Source:Foundation for Excellencein Education