Illinois schools dodge federal warning list over minority students
Almost 300,000 reading and math tests taken by Illinois students in 2006 weren't counted because the state relaxed a rule under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, allowing some schools to dodge a warning they were failing.
The tests most likely to be discounted were low-income and minority students, The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday. Almost one in four black students and one in five low-income students didn't have their scores counted.
According to federal guidelines, a school's progress under the law is evaluated on tests taken by students enrolled for a "full academic year," which each state defines.
Illinois changed its rule so that students must be enrolled May 1 of the previous school year to have their tests counted. Before last year, the state counted the tests of students enrolled by Oct. 1 of the school year.
The change meant that 283,000 tests were not counted, letting 53 schools dodge a warning list of underperforming schools. Schools that make the list can face sanctions, such as offering students the chance to transfer to other schools.
The number of unreported tests is more than five times the number that were not counted in 2005, the newspaper reported.
State uses test loophole