2023 Illinois Report Card for schools released. Here are the findings

The annual report card evaluates schools across the state and "provides a snapshot of academic achievement; student and teacher information; and financial data at the state, district, and school levels"

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The Illinois State Board of Education on Monday released the 2023 Illinois Report Card, offering a new look at how schools and districts across the state are performing.

The annual report card evaluates schools across the state and "provides a snapshot of academic achievement; student and teacher information; and financial data at the state, district, and school levels."

This year's report noted schools across the state showed "strong progress in students' recovery from the pandemic – with increased proficiency rates and the highest graduation rate in 13 years."

"Gains for Black students, who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, led the significant improvement in many indicators," the board wrote in a release.

On the flip side, however, the report indicated continued struggles in proficiency rates, despite strong gains in the category, and "chronic absenteeism," which it said remained "alarmingly high." The proficiency levels for both English language arts and math remained below pre-pandemic levels, but the report noted that Illinois has "some of the most rigorous standards for proficiency in the nation."

“We are moving fast toward recovery, but we still have a significant distance to travel,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders said in a statement. “Even once we exceed pre-pandemic achievement, we are not done until we have a system that graduates each and every student ready for success. Educators and families should be proud of the remarkable progress we see on the 2023 Illinois Report Card, while remaining focused on understanding and meeting students’ needs at this phase of recovery.”

One of the largest success stories comes as the state saw record-breaking high school graduation rates, with 87.6% of students graduating, a number the report says was driven largely by gains for Black and Hispanic students.

The report also found teacher retention levels had reached "an all-time high," exceeding 90% for the 2022-23 school year, though it highlights "severe teacher shortages still exist."

Chronic absenteeism was among the biggest concerns for the state after it skyrocketed during the pandemic and now sits at 28.3%.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as a student who missed 10% or more of the school year, roughly 17 or more days, due to excused or unexcused absences.

The board of education also found that Illinois schools continue to enroll higher numbers of English learners and more Hispanic, Asian and multiracial students, "suggesting an increasing diversity in Illinois schools." Still, overall enrollment levels continue to decline, which the board says is in line with a declining birth rate nationwide.

Parents and educators can search for their school's individual results here.

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