Illinois students did not score as well on this year's standardized tests.
The number of students meeting or exceeding Illinois' benchmarks on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test dropped from 82 percent last year to 62 percent this year.
State Superintendent Christopher Koch says that's because of new, tougher so-called "Common Core" standards -- not a reflection on the student.
"This is raising the bar. It doesn't mean your child is performing less well," Koch said.
Koch says as Illinois continues to implement more strict educational goals, testing will be different.
"We're moving away from multiple choice tests to ones in which students have to demonstrate and apply knowledge. And I think this is an important direction for us to be going, and I think parents will be very satisfied with the results," Koch said.
Koch says among Illinois high school freshman, 80 percent will not go on to earn a college degree -- and that's one of the things the new standards aim to improve upon.
Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.