The higher demands come as Illinois transitions to more stringent learning standards for English Language Arts and mathematics, known as Common Core, which the state adopted in 2010. In anticipation of next month's Illinois Standard Achievement Test, the state board of education recently reevaluated school scores from 2012, giving districts an idea of how their students may fare with the tougher exam.
If the previews are any indication, the drop-offs could be stark for Grade School District 58 and Center Cass School District 66, which can together boast 90 percent passing rates in nearly all grade levels and subjects in 2012.
"This does not mean our students are less capable or prepared than they were in previous years," District 58 superintendent Kari Cremascoli said in a message posted on the district's website. "In fact, they are increasingly better prepared for the rigor of the Common Core as we have already taken steps to review and revise each of our curricular components and to increase our academic expectations of all students throughout our district."