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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

State Report Card Shows Students Fall Short Of Academic Benchmarks

State of Illinois

The Illinois State Board of Education releases its 2016 report cards today. They analyze how well the state’s public schools are educating Illinois students. 

More than 60 percent of students failed to meet state benchmarks in math and English. That’s according to results from the second year using the standardized test known as PARCC.

Board of Education analyst John Barker says PARCC gives Illinois a clearer picture of the state’s challenges.

“We’re not where we want to be,” Barker said. “And I think where the data would point, and what we’ve covered, is that we’ve got challenges. And in terms of owning that challenge, what we actually have would be a data diagnostics system if you will with PARCC that actually gives us clarity into that.”

The state updated its school report cards in a way that's more accessible. The website Illinois-Report-Cards dot com was redesigned to make it mobile friendly.

Barker says about one-third of website visitors clicked in using mobile devices. He hopes this new version will be easier for busy parents.

"Just in terms of accessibility, you'll be able to access it on your phone, so we hope that's actually going to be a much better way for parents to be able to access this information,” Barker said. “So we feel that that's a good thing there."

Not much has changed beyond that. The report cards show that graduation rates are down slightly, while average per-pupil spending increased by about $300.

  • Illinois Public Radio's Camille Phillips and Dusty Rhodes contributed to this report.
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