Illinois joins American Diploma Project
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[October 14, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich, along with the Illinois State Board of Education,
announced Sunday that Illinois is joining more than 30 other states
in the American Diploma Project in better positioning itself to
prepare students for college and the work force. Illinois joins an
American Diploma Project class that includes California and Florida
in reviewing and revising what students need to know and should be
able to do in order to be successful in both college and their
This will be the first group of states to not only use national
benchmarks, but also look at what other countries require of their
students. Once completed, it is expected that the Illinois Learning
Standards will be more focused, easier to understand and more
"Illinois businesses are not only competing against companies in
other states, but in other nations as well. We have to look globally
at what students need to know in order to be successful after they
graduate," Blagojevich said. "We need to challenge our students
every day so they can meet the challenges that wait for them after
Thirty-three states are currently participating in
the project. States that join the American Diploma Project agree to
develop high school learning standards that prepare students for
success, using national benchmarks to guide them. The group that
includes Illinois will be the first to use international models in
reviewing and revising state standards.
"Membership in the American Diploma Project will help us to
provide coherence between standards, curriculum, assessments and
college entry requirements," said State Superintendent of Education
Christopher A. Koch. "I want to thank Gov. Blagojevich, the
Community College Board, Board of Higher Education and our business
community for joining educators as we work to put standards in place
that will lead our students to 21st-century success."
The American Diploma Project is an initiative of
Achieve Inc., a
nonprofit created by the nation's governors and business leaders to
help raise academic standards.
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Earlier this year, Achieve did a review of the Illinois Learning
Standards for grades 8-12 at the request of the Illinois State Board
of Education. The Illinois Learning Standards were developed in 1997
and had not been reviewed since that time.
The review found that while Illinois' standards were strong in
some areas, standards were significantly lower than what would be
considered national benchmarks in English, math and science. The
review also found that in many areas the Illinois standards were
unclear and vague, making it difficult for teachers to know exactly
what students should be learning.
Work on revising the Illinois Learning Standards has already
begun and is expected to last 18 to 24 months. The overall goal is
to produce fewer, clearer and higher Illinois Learning Standards and
to promote rigor and relevance in curriculum.
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]