From Early Childhood to Postsecondary: Analyzing Illinois Students’ Learning Over the Past Decade
October 18, 2019

By tracking student outcomes over time, we can refine our strategies to support them.

A new report from Advance Illinois analyzes Illinois’ educational performance across a variety of metrics, including learning conditions and student outcomes. From early childhood through postsecondary, Advance Illinois has tracked student learning over the past decade and shares how that progress compares to other states. 

The 2019 edition of The State We’re In: A Report on Public Education in Illinois focuses on a statewide goal of ensuring at least 60 percent of adults attain a high-quality postsecondary credential by 2025. In pursuit of this goal, Advance Illinois recognizes the need for work across systems to drive student learning, particularly for low-income students and underrepresented students of color. Key report findings include:

  • State-level spending from early childhood through postsecondary has not kept pace with demand. While the passage of a new state funding model in 2017 means more resources go to the most under-funded schools, nearly half of Illinois K-12 districts are still working with less than 70 percent of the funds needed to provide an excellent education for students. 
  • Only a quarter of Illinois students are fully prepared to enter kindergarten. Just 23 percent of children ages four and under have access to publicly-funded early childhood programs, and only 21 percent of children in state-funded pre-kindergarten attend full-day programs. 
  • Illinois is among the top ten states nationwide for K-12 student academic growth. With support from the new education funding formula, which drove per-pupil spending above the national average, Illinois students are achieving just over five years of academic growth between 3rd and 8th grades. The same is true for Illinois’ Latinx and Black students, who are growing at rates that are equal to or exceed their white peers in both math and reading. 
  • This academic growth persists through high school, with nearly 90 percent of Illinois’ ninth graders on track to graduate and nearly four in ten meeting SAT college readiness standards at the time of graduation. Even in the midst of a historic multi-year budget impasse that decimated higher education institutions’ funding, more Illinois students of all races and ethnicities are entering and completing college.  

As advocates across the country work to create more equitable statewide education systems that drive student learning, Advance Illinois is charting a path forward by focusing on student outcomes and learning conditions from early childhood through postsecondary. Explore the full 2019 edition here.

Interested in connecting with advocates at Advance Illinois? Reach out.

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Hannah Oakley

Hannah is PIE Network's Policy Fellow


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