Learning – remote & in-person across the P-20 Network

As the 2020-2021 school year begins in never-seen-before fashion, school districts and postsecondary institutions are each determining the best ways to balance the needs of keeping students and staff members safe, meeting the demands of their stakeholders, and supporting students with learning and teachers and faculty with teaching.

Over the past year, as part of the NIU P-20 Research & Data Collaborative, Illinois P-20 Network staff have been deeply involved in a number of statewide research projects on topics ranging from early childhood education through postsecondary student performance. In an effort to best serve the Illinois P-20 Network, through conversations with leaders of P-20 Network partners, it has become increasingly clear that one way in which the P-20 Network can support its partners is by collecting and providing access to real-time data. To this end, P-20 Network staff have collected data from partners’ websites on the current status of their remote versus in-person learning plans for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. While the Illinois State Board of Education has also created a similar tool for analyzing remote versus in-person learning, it only includes data from about 75% of the state’s school districts that responded to ISBE’s survey request.

This data below is provided separately at each level – elementary school, middle school, high school, and postsecondary. In conducting the data collection and analysis, the P-20 Network team quickly understood that many school districts are approaching their remote and hybrid learning models in complex ways, and this led to the presentation of data in this way.

Below, there are 4 slides of data with a chart and map at each level that you can click through:

  • Postsecondary Institutions
  • High Schools
  • Middle Schools
  • Elementary Schools

Postsecondary Institutions


High Schools


Middle Schools


Elementary Schools


If the data for your organization is inaccurate, please let us know by emailing the Illinois P-20 Network.

Over the coming weeks, we will be seeking out additional data, including trying to collect the cost of COVID-19 thus far on each of your institutions, and we will be refining and improving these type of data visualizations moving forward. We look forward to bringing you more useful data in ever-more usable formats in order to best support organizations across the Illinois P-20 Network.

August 2020

The P-20 Network – Who we are collectively – June 2020

At the historic and unusual end of the 2019-2020 academic year, the P-20 Network decided to collect a small amount of demographic data and analyze the make-up of the Network based on who its students are as reported publicly via the Illinois Report Card and Illinois Postsecondary Profiles websites. This data is based on the numbers reported on those websites on June 30, 2020, which, to a large degree, is data from the previous school year (a year old). Nevertheless, it paints a relatively accurate picture of who makes up the P-20 Network. For this analysis, only data from school districts and postsecondary institutions from across the Network was studied as including the state agencies or other statewide organizations would naturally include all students and organizations across Illinois.

Overall, the P-20 Network currently includes organizations that serve over 700,000 students, and approximately half of them are served in school districts and half of them are served in postsecondary institutions.

Elementary & Secondary Students

Across the school districts that are engaged with the P-20 Network, there are 366,810 students. In general, the demographics of the P-20 Network mirror the State of Illinois with a few key differences.

Student DemographicP-20 Network (%)State (%)
Low Income 3849
Students with IEPs1516
Homeless Students22
Students learning English1312
White Students49.447.6
Black Students8.416.7
Hispanic Students28.426.4
Asian Students9.45.1
American Indian Students0.30.3
Pacific Islander Students0.10.1
Students of 2 or more races4.03.8

The school districts that participate in the P-20 Network have an overall lower percentage of low income students (38%) than Illinois does statewide (49%) and a lower percentage of students whose families identify as Black (8.4%) than does Illinois (16.7%). There is also a higher percentage of students whose families identify as Asian across the P-20 Network school districts (9.4%) than there is across the entire state (5.1%). Not represented by this data is the fact that the school districts that currently make up the P-20 Network also represent a wide variety of communities, from smaller (in population), rural farming communities to urban centers to a wide range of suburban communities featuring many different types of housing and commercial areas. The range of careers that make up the communities represented across the P-20 Network is arguably as diverse as anywhere in the United States.

Despite these differences, the general diversity of students across Illinois is represented by the school districts across the P-20 Network, and regardless of comparisons, the students being served across these school districts represent a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Postsecondary Students

As a result of the efforts of the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the Illinois Postsecondary Profiles website offers a wealth of data about students in higher education in Illinois. This data is not aggregated statewide like it is in the Illinois Report Card, and there is not data included about how old students are or what their pathways to their current postsecondary experiences are. (For example, the question how many current community college students already have a Bachelor’s Degree? is not answered by this data.) Nevertheless, there are some important data points we can begin to track across the P-20 Network.

Student DemographicP-20 Network (%)
Full-Time Students41
Part-Time Students59
White Students48
Black Students11
Hispanic Students25
Asian Students7

From even this brief data set, there are a number of important points for analysis. First, the percentages of full-time versus part-time students has significant implications for instruction, schooling, and supports. Most of the postsecondary institutions in the P-20 Network are community colleges (20 of the 25 postsecondary institutions), and the high number of part-time students is not new or uncommon in community colleges. Nevertheless, it is important information for programming and supports and ensuring advancement and degree completion. With regards to the race/ethnicity data points, the enrollment of postsecondary students across P-20 Network institutions closely reflects the demographic characteristics of the population of elementary and secondary students with Black students being underrepresented in postsecondary institutions in comparison to the percentage of the current K-12 student population statewide and with Asian students being represented at a higher percentage in postsecondary institutions than they are in the current K-12 student population statewide.

Overall, the P-20 Network is very diverse, and educational successes across the P-20 Network are successes that can likely be replicated across Illinois, the United States, and beyond.

Thank you to P-20 Network Graduate Research Assistant Sadia Qamar for the data collection and methodology work done that served as the foundation for this analysis.

June 2020

Transitional English – Learn more and provide feedback

Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Education Systems Center led a committee of educators from school districts and postsecondary institutions in the development of the draft Course Parameters and Competencies for Transitional English. During this same period, the Illinois Community College Board awarded grants to support community colleges and school districts in beginning to develop and launch their Transitional English programs locally that would based their work on this statewide framework. The ICCB Transitional English Grant awardees represent a variety of institutions, geographic regions, and demographics throughout Illinois.

On June 2, 2020, Education Systems Center, the state agencies, and representatives of the Competency Development Group presented a statewide Transitional English webinar to provide background and explanation regarding Transitional English.

Educators and the public can provide feedback on the draft framework using this Transitional English Public Comment Survey through July 31, 2020.

The image below provides an outline of the process of moving from where it is today to full implementation.

At the time of the publication, the State of Illinois is in the left-most circle. Based on the feedback, there may be adjustments to the draft framework. Then, during Fall 2020, it is anticipated that the state agencies will review the course parameters and competencies and then adopt them. At that point, the work will shift to implementing the statewide portability panel in order to ensure that all students who are successful in Transitional English can be placed in the appropriate college English class across Illinois.

For more information, visit the Illinois Community College Board’s official Transitional English website.

June 2020

Transitional English – Public Comment opens June 1st

Transitional English info is available for review now, and there are two upcoming webinars in which you can participate to learn more and ask questions!


Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, a statewide committee of educators representing school districts, community colleges, universities and state agencies came together to examine research and best practices and to develop competencies and course parameters for Transitional English to be offered to high school seniors throughout Illinois. Recently, the committee’s work was published in this draft Statewide Transitional English Course Parameters and Competencies document. Public comments will be collected between June 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020.

Information to login to each of the following webinars is being sent out to P-20 Network Newsletter subscribers on Friday, May 29th. If you do not currently receive the P-20 Network Newsletter, complete this short P-20 Network Newsletter Subscription Form before May 29th. After May 29th, for more information on logging in to these webinars, please contact Brooke Simon at the P-20 Network.

 

Introductory Webinar

On June 2, 2020, at 2.00 PM, Education Systems Center will be hosting a webinar to provide important background information regarding Transitional English.

 

Follow-Up Webinar – Brief Overview and Question & Answer Time

On June 9, 2020, at 2.30 PM, the P-20 Network and Education Systems Center will be jointly hosting a webinar to answer questions from practitioners about the proposed Transitional English Course Parameters and Competencies. Login information for the webinar is listed below. Organizations are also encouraged to submit questions about Transitional English ahead of time online.

May 2020

P-20 Research & Data Collaborative – Ready to help your organization with research and data

The P-20 Network is a proud partner with key departments and academic units at Northern Illinois University in the NIU P-20 Research & Data Collaborative.

The NIU P-20 Research & Data Collaborative empowers your progress with data and research initiatives within your organizations that are crucial to making informed decisions in this critical time. Whether generating, understanding, managing or engaging with data and research, the Collaborative has project experience and staff with that expertise. Our current data and research portfolio includes projects with:

  • local school districts
  • local government agencies
  • statewide policy
  • workforce development
  • early childhood programming

Please reach out to the P-20 Research & Data Collaborative or the P-20 Network to see how we can support your organization with meeting specific data and research needs.

  • Alan Clemens, Director of Illinois Interactive Report Cards at Northern Illinois University
  • Jason Klein, Director of P-20 Initiatives
April 2020

Dual Credit and Advanced Placement while Learning at Home

UPDATED – 27 March 2020 – Additional guidance about dual credit classes from ISBE, ICCB, and IBHE has been released and is available online here. Everything in this new guidance aligns with the “Dual Credit” section below, and it offers additional specific suggestions for ensuring students can access online coursework as well as for individual plans for students to complete the coursework and for late withdrawals if necessary.


With all Illinois schools being closed for on-site instruction due to Governor Pritzker’s Executive Orders (Executive Order 2020-10), school districts and community colleges have made a tremendous shift to distance/remote learning on a never-seen-before scale in a a matter of days. While there is a great deal of flexibility that may be on offer in a variety of classes, Dual Credit and Advanced Placement courses present unique challenges–namely, that their successful completion will also designate to other (future) institutions that the student has mastered specific skills and concepts.

Advanced Placement Changes for Spring 2020
On Friday, March 20, 2020, The College Board, the not-for-profit organization that administers the Advanced Placement (AP) program and creates, implements, and scores the AP Tests, made announcements about its plans to modify AP Testing for Spring 2020. Key elements of this decision include:

  • 45-minute, one-question free response tests in place of multiple choice plus free response tests that take hours to complete
  • Limited curricular scope that should include only what was already covered
  • Opportunity to cancel participation free-of-charge if students wish
  • Online testing as well as the option of photographing and sending a handwritten response (with support from College Board to help ensure access to both devices and the Internet for students who do not currently have both at home)

Additionally, beginning on March 25th, online support led by teachers will be available for students from The College Board via the AP YouTube Channel. A full schedule and resources can be found here under the header Free AP Review Classes.

Dual Credit Classes
In keeping with the spirit of Illinois’ Dual Credit Quality Act and the Model Partnership Agreement, it is necessary for the community college or university offering the postsecondary credit and the school district that is offering and teaching the dual credit course to agree upon the standards and criteria necessary to continue with the awarding of postsecondary credit to students.

With school districts, community colleges, and four-year universities all moving to online and remote learning environments, there is a common basis for these discussions and decisions. In gathering feedback from school districts and community colleges throughout the P-20 Network and who are serving as leaders on these issues through the P-20 Network’s Dual Credit Think Tank, the following steps are suggested between school districts and postsecondary institutions as best practices at this time:

  • Discuss – Be sure to open the lines of communications about what is expected with regards to curriculum, how it is delivered instructionally, and how the skills and concepts will be assessed.
  • Make similar adjustments – As universities and colleges make adjustments to curriculum with the move to learning at home, those changes should be communicated to school districts, and it is reasonable to expect the school districts to make the same adjustments rather than simply expecting them to continue on as originally planned. It is critical that the course objectives are clear and consistent across school districts and the higher education institution, and that all students are being supported with meeting those objectives.
  • Trust school districts – Just as face-to-face courses in higher education have moved online, school districts will need to do the same with their dual credit courses like all of their classes. Additionally, teachers in school district settings are certified by the state as a result of their strong background in pedagogical coursework and their student teaching experience, so they should be as well-prepared as faculty in postsecondary institutions to make these adjustments.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), like other state agencies in Illinois and around the United States, are working through these policy challenges and seeking to provide clear guidance as quickly as possible. If guidance specific to Dual Credit is issued by either or both of these agencies, that should be followed. (It will very likely be issued by both jointly.) At the moment, ISBE has told school districts in its most recent March 23rd Guidance Document:

Please work with your community college partners to ensure that students will not be penalized by these circumstances. ISBE and ICCB are working on additional coordinated guidance.

March 2020

Survey – What support do you need with Perkins V?

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) jointly implement Perkins V and they continue to provide resources for school districts, community colleges, and EFEs to move through the Perkins Grant process successfully. The following websites include resources and support documentation from these state agencies:

Based on feedback from school districts and community colleges, Education Systems Center, the Center for Governmental Studies, and the P-20 Network, all based out of Northern Illinois University, are seeking to determine if there are additional needs related to the Perkins V processes, and if so, how our organizations may be able to assist. This short survey is designed to provide that feedback to know what needs may exist that require additional support. 

January 2020

Elements of a Team-Based Challenge

A Career Pathway Endorsement Team-Based Challenge is a self-contained exercise that may vary in length and structure ranging from an individual activity to an instructional unit. 

A Team-Based Challenge should require students to utilize and demonstrate competency with work-based knowledge and skills as they work to solve an authentic work-based problem as members of a collaborative team. 

Career Pathway Endorsement Team-Based Challenges should include the following features: 

  • Challenges seek solutions to authentic problems that are identified from and/or in collaboration with industry partners, are regionally relevant and globally connected, and result in a real solution that can be applied and implemented in the “real world”. As part of or in addition to the solution/product, students must complete a presentation of their solution and its application to an authentic audience. 
  • Students work in collaborative groups to solve the problem. 
  • Students are supported by an expert mentor from the field. If possible, experts should also be present for student presentations at the culmination of the Team-Based Challenge. 
  • Challenges require students to demonstrate key technical, employability, and entrepreneurial competencies. Successful demonstration of the competencies through a Team-Based Challenge is typically represented through a rubric and/or another form of authentic assessment. 

Career Pathway Endorsement Team-Based Challenges are also a strong vehicle for providing opportunities for new partners with school districts. Since Challenges are shorter in duration and do not require significant commitments of time or the need to host students on-site (and the ensuing policy challenges that may come with that), Team-Based Challenges provide a “lighter” way for new partners to work alongside the school district and to have their employees engage with students as experts. With the proliferation of advanced communications technologies in school classrooms, such interactions may be in-person either in school or at the partner’s site through a research trip or online. 

A Career Pathway Endorsement Team-Based Challenge can take place within a course that is part of the identified sequence for a particular College & Career Pathway. Challenges can also take place as part of a co-curricular activity. 

November 2019

Illinois Report Card Launches with new data

The Illinois Report Card has been updated and released with its annual refresh of new data and, in this year’s case, some additional data. The Illinois Report Card provides schools and other stakeholders a wide range of data to provide insight into trends in and across schools. The Illinois Report Card is overseen by the Illinois State Board of Education and implemented by the Illinois Interactive Report Cards Office at Northern Illinois University. Each year, as required by law, the Illinois Report Card is released with data from the previous school year at the end of October.

This year, the major new data element includes site-based expenditure data, which was reported by school districts for each school to the State for the first time based on the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Illinois Report Card - SBER Data District Detail

This data shows the overall amount spent by school, and this has garnered widespread reporting from media outlets throughout Illinois; This article from the Daily Herald is just one example.

In addition to the inclusion of the site-based expenditure data, there is a whole range of additional changes to the website from the addition of growth data on the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) to new fields that can be used to disaggregate data to an updated color scheme. A full list of updates can be found here in the 2019 Illinois Report Card Release Notes, which are also published on the Illinois Report Card homepage.

October 2019