What is ESSA in Illinois?

What does this plan mean for my student?

What does this plan mean for my school?

What is my child learning? Does ESSA change what my student is learning?

How do I know if my child is learning?

Does ESSA change how my student is taught?

Does ESSA change how my student is graded?

How is my school doing?

How can I help?

We want to be your go-to source for anything related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Check out our new frequently asked questions .

Click on the questions on the left to learn the answer.

What is ESSA in Illinois?

ESSA is a new way to evaluate school quality, report on progress, and support schools that need it. The plan sets forth guidelines for each state to customize a new plan for education, which replaces No Child Left Behind.

Illinois’ plan for ESSA was accepted by the Federal Department of Education and goes into effect this year. Next October, parents and advocates will be able to see data on how their student and school is doing under this new system. Illinois Department of Education (ISBE) and the State Superintendent of Schools are still working with groups of stakeholders, including teachers, principals, superintendents, and advocates for parents and communities, to complete sections of the plan. Stay updated on Illinois’ plan for ESSA here.

What does this plan mean for my student?

ESSA is still in progress. We know that the core values in the plan focuses on equity (i.e., fairness) for all students. To achieve equity, focus is placed on how a student’s academic success is measured, the quality of the school, and ways a school can give proper resources to the students who need it most.

What does this plan mean for my school?

In October of 2018, an online report card for all Illinois schools will display information about how your school is doing in improving student success. Schools will be evaluated based on both academic and the level of their school’s quality. This information will be used to place the schools into 1 of 4 categories or “tiers” based on their performance:

Tier 1-Exemplary School
Tier 2-Commendable School
Tier 3-Underperforming School
Tier 4-Lowest Performing School

While we know there will be tiers, the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois P-20 (Pre-school through –Career) Council are still working with groups to finalize many technical details of how we evaluate schools and what types of supports are given to underperforming schools.

What is my child learning? Does ESSA change what my student is learning?

The state learning standards will still be the outline that schools use to determine whether or not their student is ready for the next grade level. For example, a kindergartener needs to be able to count to 100 by the end of Kindergarten. ESSA does not change what students need to know at each grade level. How a student is taught and what materials are used to teach are decisions made by the classroom teacher, school, and sometimes school district.

How do I know if my child is learning?

Currently, parents and families measure a student’s success by looking at grades, classroom tests, and an annual state assessment. While many of the technical details are still being worked out, Illinois’ plan will measure how much progress students have made towards their academic goals, not just their grades. ESSA calls this progress– a student’s academic “growth.”

Does ESSA change how my student is taught?

No. ESSA will not change how your student is taught. The plan will give us all better information on student performance so that we can help students meet their learning goals.

Does ESSA change how my student is graded?

ESSA will not change how your student receives grades from their teacher. That is a decision made by each school or district. It will change how your student is evaluated by a state assessment and will do a better job at measuring your student’s progress towards meeting critical academic goals.

How is my school doing?

The 2017-18 school year is the first year ESSA takes full effect. Beginning the 2018-19 school year, the Illinois State Report Card will display the tier your school falls into and the type of supports that are being utilized by your school.

How can I help?

Stay informed. Sign up for our newsletter to get regular updates on how the plan is progressing. Prepare for 2018 when your school will have a new report card. The new report card will not mean that your student knows any less or your school is doing any better or worse, rather it will give a fairer and clearer look into how well your school is doing.