Illinois' latest standardized test results show that the achievement gap among elementary school students is narrowing, largely because of gains among black, special education and low-income students, the Illinois State Board of Education announced Monday.
The board also said that nine schools flagged for improvement under the decade-old federal No Child Left Behind Act were taken off that status because they made adequate yearly progress for two years in a row. The improvement came even as the state's proficiency benchmarks rose 7.5 percent over the past two years.
"Our students have shown steady, incremental improvement, and we know that represents solid progress," said Christopher Koch, the state's education chief.
The state board reported that over time, the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed by 11.4 percent in math and 7.9 percent in reading. Since 2006, black students have posted a 14.3 percent increase in meeting and exceeding proficiency in math and a 13 percent increase in reading on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.