School Law Advisor Blog

ISBE Releases New Rules for Implementation of Student Growth

With the first districts now having been notified of required compliance with full Performance Evaluation Reform Act ("PERA") student growth-based evaluations, the Illinois State Board of Education has clarified the requirements with new rules.  According to the rules, a PERA-compliant evaluation must contain a Student Learning Objective Process, which organizes evidence of student growth over a defined period of time that addresses learning goals that are measurable and specific to the skills or content being taught and the grade level of the students being assessed, and are used to inform and differentiate instruction to ensure student success. The Student Learning Objective ("SLO") must contain:


            1.         Learning goal

            2.         Assessment

            3.         Procedures for measuring goal and growth expectation


23 Ill. Adm. Code 50.30.


The minimum required elements in a complaint SLO process are:


a)        A list of the student population whose achievement will be measured for the purpose of determining student growth;

b)        A description of the learning goal established;

c)         Standards associated with the learning goal;

d)        A description of the assessments and scoring procedures established;

e)        Identification of growth expectations established at the beginning of the SLO process;

f)         Identification of adjustments made to the identified growth expectations at the midpoint of the SLO process, as applicable;

g)        Documentation of the number or percentage of students who achieved the identified growth expectations;

h)        An explanation of how the qualified evaluator translates the number or percentage of students who achieved the identified growth expectations into a final student growth rating; and

i)         A final growth rating assigned at the conclusion of the SLO process.


23 Ill. Adm. Code 50.220


Assessment means any instrument that measures a student's acquisition of specific knowledge and skills.  Assessments used in the evaluation of teachers, principals and assistant principals shall be aligned to one or more instructional areas articulated in the Illinois Learning Standards (see 23 Ill. Adm. Code 1.Appendix D) or Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards − Children Age 3 to Kindergarten Enrollment Age (see 23 Ill. Adm. Code 235.Appendix A), as applicable.  23 Ill. Adm. Code 50.30.


There are three types of assessments:

  • Type I assessment means a reliable assessment that measures a certain group or subset of students in the same manner with the same potential assessment items, is scored by a non-district entity, and is administered either statewide or beyond Illinois.  Examples include assessments available from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), Scantron Performance Series, Star Reading Enterprise, College Board's SAT, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examinations, or ACT's EPAS® (i.e., Educational Planning and Assessment System).  
  • Type II assessment means any assessment developed or adopted and approved for use by the school district and used on a districtwide basis by all teachers in a given grade or subject area.  Examples include collaboratively developed common assessments, curriculum tests and assessments designed by textbook publishers.  
  • Type III assessment means any assessment that is rigorous, that is aligned to the course's curriculum, and that the qualified evaluator and teacher determine measures student learning in that course.  Examples include teacher-created assessments, assessments designed by textbook publishers, student work samples or portfolios, assessments of student performance, and assessments designed by staff who are subject or grade-level experts that are administered commonly across a given grade or subject.  A Type I or Type II assessment may qualify as a Type III assessment if it aligns to the curriculum being taught and measures student learning in that subject area. 

23 Ill. Adm. Code 50.30.  Each plan must contain at least one Type I or II assessment and at least one Type III assessment.  Id. at 50.110(b)(1).


The Code also provides substantial guidance on the PERA joint committee's obligations and the results if the committee cannot reach agreement.  In addition to requiring as much as 50% of the evaluation being required to be student growth, the Code defines a result in the event any part of the plan (a through j above) is not agreed upon. 


The best solution for any school district (early and later adopters) is to begin education on the elements of student growth and their objectives immediately.  Learning about what the practical impact of each element is today will enable the school district to choose and implement assessments which meet the school district's evaluation goals with limited undermining of management rights.