2022 Illinois report card released

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:42 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Illinois report card for the 2021-2022 school year shows the highest high school graduation rate in over a decade. Gov. JB Pritzker celebrated the accomplishment with students at Morton West High School in Berwyn, a near-west suburb of Chicago.

The Illinois State Board of Education says college and career readiness rebounded last year with an 87.3% graduation rate. Illinois schools have historically seen lower rates of graduation for black and Hispanic students, but the 2022 data show their graduation rates have grown each year since 2018.

The rate of freshmen on track to graduate in 2022 also rebounded to pre-pandemic levels at 86.6%. Pritzker said students have shown resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve done it,” Pritzker said in the packed gymnasium. “So when tough moments come later in your lives, remember what you’ve managed through already and remember that your state is rooting for you. We are really cheering you on.”

There is still concern over chronic absenteeism across the state. 30% of Illinois students missed 10% or more of the last school year. ISBE said 48% of black students and 36% of Hispanic students were chronically absent from school. The Pritzker administration hopes a new $12 million grant will help combat chronic absenteeism.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala noted that this report card reflects a period of time when black and brown communities were most impacted by families with essential workers and virtual learning issues. Ayala said the General Assembly allocated the $12 million to address chronic truancy across the state. She said there are several different ways that school districts can use the funding to help students.

“There would be individuals that would go to the home to do home visits and find out why the child is not attending school,” Ayala said. “There are also trauma services. We know that many students were traumatized throughout the pandemic. They are grieving. They lost family members and loved ones. So those services are being provided. It’s looking at truancy from the whole-child perspective and many times the whole-family perspective.”

Dr. Ayala said every community is unique and schools across the state are looking at the best options to use the grant funds to keep their students in school learning. ISBE reported that 20% fewer students met or exceeded the grade-level standards for reading and math in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic rates.

Pritzker stressed that students across the country are still recovering from learning loss due to COVID-19. The governor said everyone was focused on making sure students and staff were safe while learning.

“Now, we’ve seen an upward trajectory in a way that frankly other states haven’t seen as much of,” Pritzker said. “We did something that many other states didn’t do. We married federal and state dollars that are available for pandemic recovery with an actual plan for schools. We gave it to them at the same time. The P-20 learning recovery guide is something that helped a lot of schools that weren’t sure how are we going to do this because it’s a very unusual circumstance.”

You can see test scores for your school and compare them with a snapshot of scores for the entire state by clicking here.

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