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ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

Three years into new testing metrics, Illinois’ public school students still are largely not proficient in math or English.

Released Tuesday, the Illinois Report Card for the 2017 school year showed that the state’s students are still in need of improvement on the basics. The results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, test shows 37 percent of students in grades three through 11 are proficient in the English Language Arts portion of the test. Only 31 percent passed the math test.

The test is scored on a 1-5 grade scale. A “4” or “5” is considered proficient.

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith says there has been improvement over the years, but there is still more to be done to have students ready once they graduate.

“We’ve got a lot to be happy about and celebrate,” Smith said on a call Monday. “But there’s still too many students taking remedial coursework when they get to the community college or four-year.”

The PARCC test has been the subject of criticism over the last two years of its implementation. The board has said in years past that it’s a much more rigorous test and that scores will improve as its implementation continues. Since 2015, the average score has increased by 1.1 percent.

2017 is also the first year of statewide SAT testing. In the first year, 38 percent of Illinois’ 11th graders were considered “proficient” in their SAT scores. 40 percent were considered proficient in English Language Arts and 36 percent proficient in math.

The report showed continued struggles for 8th graders to pass basic Algebra as well. Of those that even qualified to take the course, only 29 percent passed Algebra 1.

“The State Board of Ed would like to see as many students as possible taking Algebra 1 and passing it by the time they’ve reached 8th grade,” Patrick Payne, director of Strategy and Analytics, said.

Information on Illinois’ teachers and administration was also made available. The average teacher salary increased to $64,516 in 2017, an increase of $1,066. The average administrator salary increased by $2,639, from $103,634 in 2016 to $106,273 in 2017. Using national data from previous years, the average Illinois salaries remain higher than all but a handful of state. Despite low levels of test proficiency, the state’s average teacher evaluation is 97 percent.

Local results can be found at IllinoisReportCard.com.

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