Illinois students' academic performance fell slightly, at least according to No Child Left Behind standards. 82 percent of Illinois school districts failed to meet what's known as "Adequate Yearly Progress" under the federal No Child Left Behind program.
State superintendent of schools Chris Koch says eventually, ALL schools would miss the unrealistic targets:
"And it caused us to unfortunately negatively label schools, even when they were showing progress."
Like other states, Illinois wants a reprieve from all of No Child Left Behind. But the request is still pending. The feds want Illinois to use a new method of evaluating teachers by 2014, while the state wants a longer roll-out:
"It's a huge culture change for schools to make sure that they're doing evaluations well. Because now we're moving in a high stakes environment where teachers can lose their jobs if students aren't showing performance."
- Chris Koch
Koch says he expects this will be the LAST year Illinois is under No Child Left Behind. He says in the future Illinois wants to focus on closing the achievement gap between white and minority students. This year's data showed the gap narrowing, with black students' scores rising by up to 14 percent, and Hispanic students' test scores improving by up to 6 percent.
Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report