A new public school rating system, based on a 0-100 percent grading scale, will start to roll out this year in Illinois.
The rating system -- created under legislation backed by the education coalition Vision 20/20 and signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in late July -- would categorize schools or school districts as "exemplar," "proficient," "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory" based on their score.
School climate, classroom cleanliness and a range of "professional practices" aimed at improving schools will account for 70 percent of a score. Student performance and academic progress measures, including test scores and graduation rates, will determine the other 30 percent.
Education experts say it is not typical for a state school rating system to have academic performance account for such a low percentage of a school rating.
"Illinois policymakers are listening to the national movement which is calling for de-emphasizing test scores as a factor in evaluating schools," Bob Schaeffer with FairTest, a "nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to preventing the misuse of standardized tests," told the Chicago Tribune.
There are questions over whether Illinois needs the U.S. Education Department to sign off on the new rating system.