For Immediate Release
The Illinois Center for School Improvement Makes a Difference for Schools and Students
Significant Positive Change Among Districts Receiving Services
Naperville, IL—The Illinois Center for School Improvement (Illinois CSI) has released a data brief showing the positive effects of its services on Illinois schools, school districts, and students.
Headquartered in the Naperville office of American Institutes for Research (AIR), Illinois CSI works closely with low-performing school districts as identified by the Illinois State Board of Education. Illinois CSI provides intensive support to school leaders as they strive to transform their instructional and administrative systems in order to improve student outcomes.
School and district leaders report positive changes in student achievement and school performance as a result of their collaboration with Illinois CSI.
"Our relationship with Illinois CSI has evolved into a strong partnership," says Jennifer Gill, Superintendent of the Springfield Public Schools, District 186. "Their strategies align with our teaching and learning philosophy. The Illinois CSI team works with and supports my leadership team, and I am grateful for their contributions to our continuous improvement efforts."
But are the services delivered by Illinois CSI actually improving student achievement?
"Although we are thrilled that our 'customer satisfaction' levels are high, we wanted to know whether we were actually making a difference where it matters the most: Are students coming to school, and are they learning?" explains Betheny Lyke, executive director of Illinois CSI.
To find out, researchers at AIR—one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations—conducted a series of statistical analyses to assess the extent to which district and school support delivered by Illinois CSI led to enhanced student and school performance.
AIR's analysis provided substantial evidence that Illinois CSI services truly do catalyze positive school transformation. The data showed that schools served by Illinois CSI achieved higher student attendance and graduation rates, higher student scores on standardized tests, and lower rates of truancy compared to same-site ratings measured prior to collaboration with Illinois CSI.
ACT standardized test scores represent one of several areas in which Illinois CSI services have led to marked district and school improvement. Prior to school year (SY) 2016–17, the ACT was given to all Illinois 11th graders to measure what students have learned in high school and to assesses their academic readiness for college. AIR's in-depth examination of statewide scores on the ACT showed that high schools in districts served by Illinois CSI improved their scores at faster rates than did all other Illinois high schools taking the ACT in SY 2013–14.
"Those working in school improvement know that the implementation of successful, long-lasting, transformative change can result in increased student achievement over time; but they also know that seeing this change usually happens after about three to five years of implementation with fidelity," reveals Dr. Lyke. "We are happy that the schools we support are seeing that change now, three years after partnering with us. It is a testament to the dedication of district and school leaders and the staff of Illinois CSI."
For more information on Illinois CSI and for stories describing the Center's activities in school districts, visit The Illinois CSI Annual Review 2016. The Review chronicles the progress of school districts served by Illinois CSI and provides snapshots of district transformations.
About Illinois CSI
The Illinois Center for School Improvement (CSI), an organization created by the Illinois State Board of Education and American Institutes for Research, provides support for districts with low-performing schools in transforming their systems to ultimately drive higher student achievement. We guide district leaders through building effective leadership teams that make data-driven decisions to implement research-based best practices, with monitoring and feedback loops for continuous improvement. Districts and schools leaders agree that they are making system wide improvements that will lead to transformation. For more information about Illinois CSI, visit www.illinoiscsi.org.