School Law Advisor Blog

Update on Student Growth Rules

With new proposed rules for requirements for student growth (which have recently undergone proposed revisions), the Illinois State Board of Education has provided additional clarity on the implementation of student growth for schools that fail to reach agreement with their joint committees.  As the rules continue to be developed and modified, Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller Ltd. is committed to keeping you posted on the developments.


For districts that have begun the process of implementation in advance of the newer rules, there may be some distinction between agreements reached by joint committees and the requirements for a district whose committee fails to reach agreement.  The code favors a school district's agreement with its joint committee in many ways, but is not yet final on the requirements for a joint committee which fails to reach agreement.


The law requires a school district to convene a PERA joint committee to agree to the implementation of the student growth component of evaluation, and because each joint committee will reach resolution differently, such agreements may not all be the same.  While it is critically important that such agreements are in compliance with the minimum procedural requirements of the law, there has yet to be any clarity on how exactly courts will review some of the specific distinctions between joint committee-developed plans and the state model. 


Joint committees that can reach agreement to procedures and process for implementation which complies with the minimum requirements set by the law may find implementation of the requirements less challenging.


As explained in last month's newsletter, the minimum required elements in a state-model compliant 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 (which is entitled "Student Learning Objective Process" and contained within Subpart C entitled "State Performance Evaluation Model for Teachers.")  While it is clear at this time that the regulations apply to the state model (and make use of several terms of art), it is unclear what components may be required of a joint committee reaching alternate agreement (See, 23 Ill. Adm. Code 50.110, at present).  Even still, the foregoing provides schools some guidance on the process as intended by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), which makes recommendations for the state performance evaluation model.


As the rules develop (and change), the requirements they impose and challenges they present will continue to evolve.  The attorneys at Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd. remain committed to keeping you informed of changes and complexities the new rules pose, and look forward to working with you to develop the very best options for your school district.