The following summarizes content from the state's application for Lead State Partner in 2011.
State Superintendent of Education: Christopher A. Koch
Primary Points of Contact:
- Tara Bell — Principal Consultant and Science Specialist, College and Career Readiness
- Gil Downey — Principal Consultant, College and Career Readiness
- Bridina Lemmer — Principal Consultant, Science
Partner Organizations: Illinois Pathways Initiative – P-20 STEM Programs of Study; STEM Center for Teaching and Learning; STEM Learning Exchange; Illinois Business Roundtable; Illinois Community College Board; Illinois Board of Higher Education; Illinois Project Lead the Way; International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.
Background: In order to graduate from an Illinois public high school, a student must complete two years of science with no specific course requirements. The Illinois Learning Standards were adopted in 1997 and are not grade specific. They are instead organized by four levels: Early Elementary, Late Elementary, Middle/Junior High School, and Late High School. Since 1997, grade specific documents such as Performance Descriptors and Assessment Frameworks were developed in order to further describe and strengthen the Illinois Learning Standards. Students are assessed in science in grades 4 and 7 using the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and in grade 11 using the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE). Illinois is a local control state; therefore districts have the ability to choose their own science curriculum as long as it follows the state standards.
Commitment: Illinois has shown a strong commitment to standards based learning through its adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and its position as a governing state in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Illinois is committed to being an active lead state partner in the NGSS efforts, and is anxious and excited to provide input to the writing team. Illinois feels as if it will be in a better position to adopt the standards if it has provided significant contribution in their development.
STEM Involvement: Illinois is working on the Illinois Pathways Initiative – P-20 STEM Programs of Study, which are a sequence of courses and applied learning experiences organized around a specific career cluster. Students in this program begin with an orientation and can pursue their academic and career interests through a course progression of pathway courses. Through this program students have the opportunity to connect with professional networks through work-based learning experiences. Illinois also is a consortium member of the STEM Center for Teaching and Learning, and is involved with STEM Learning Exchanges.
Alliances and Infrastructure: Illinois has a strong infrastructure of organizations and networks that will be of assistance with the development and implementation of the NGSS. The Illinois Business Roundtable, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Board of Higher Education, and many nonprofit associations work statewide on education issues, specifically STEM education. The Illinois Project Lead the Way and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association could prove integral in providing feedback on the NGSS due to their communications with the state.
Check back soon for more information on Illinois's state team and implementation plans