and Appropriate Education Reporters
of Public Information
State Board of Education
SUBJECT: School Report Card Embargo
The Illinois State Board of Education's Department
of Public Information is asking all members of the
media who are currently working with school report
card data to continue to honor the December 19th
The purpose of the embargo is to allow all 892
school districts in Illinois to disseminate their
own data in a timely manner, as well as provide
the schools ample time to honor state law requiring
them to report it to the public.
Many of you have rightfully begun to publish reports
on the school report cards because districts in
your coverage area have already released their data,
and have subsequently reported on questions that
administrators have with their own school report
All of you familiar with the No Child Left Behind
Act know that its impact on school assessment this
year is monumental. It is an understatement to say
that this is a transition year. It is the first
year that participation rates for subgroups has
been calculated, and consequently has created new
areas of accountability.
In the two weeks since the state began distributing
the data, ISBE staff has identified more than 300
schools which met all federal and state Adequate
Yearly Progress criteria, with the exception of
the test participation rates for student subgroups.
The result is that these schools are classified
as "not making AYP." For example, a student
who may have been classified as being low-income
in the enrollment data was not identified as such
on the test forms themselves. Therefore, the enrollment
numbers don't match the participation numbers for
that subgroup. This mismatch is primarily a result
of not properly cross-matching the data and/or not
making changes during the 45 day correction period.
The consequence is a school not making AYP. We believe
this can be rectified.
Again, because this is the first year that Adequate
Yearly Progress has been calculated for subgroups,
all correspondence from ISBE to administrators beginning
in April through August included words stressing
the fact that accuracy matters. It should be made
clear that the current data included in the schools'
report cards was generated from the schools themselves.
Our message consistently to the schools is that
accuracy does matter and that there are consequences
to failing to make AYP. Therefore, ISBE will offer
a verification period, allowing these identified
schools the opportunity to corroborate their test
participation data or negate it. The schools that
ISBE has identified will be contacted and the verification
process is currently being structured. As a result
of the verification, the AYP calculation for these
identified schools may very well change. You should
consider this potential change as you work on your
At this time, the Department of Public Information
is asking all members of the media who plan to publish
or air reports on the data upon release of the December
19 embargo that they include words to the following
effect in their news stories:
"The Illinois State Board of Education
has identified more than 300 schools whose test
participation data adversely affected their Adequate
Yearly Progress calculation and therefore the school's
AYP status. ISBE is working with these schools to
verify the data."
The Department of Public Information appreciates
your assistance in this matter, and assures you
that the list of schools that we have already identified
as well as the process that will be used to verify
their data will be forthcoming.
ISBE has received more than 200 phone calls, and
additional correspondence from school administrators
whose primary concern has been about their AYP status.
Further, ISBE has already discussed with the Illinois
Association of School Administrators and several
other organizations how to prevent this in the future
and will keep you abreast of progress on that front.
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