We would like to acknowledge the guidance of The State We’re In 2016-2017 Advisory Council, a group of education experts from across Illinois who helped strengthen our analysis and crystallize our findings. We also thank Maureen Kelleher for her writing support, and Multiple Inc. for its design and data visualization talent.

Alex Baptiste led the research and data analysis, and Melanie Cohodes, Alec Collins, Theo Grant-Funck, Stephanie Greene, Melissa Miller and Elsa Mundt provided research and analysis support.

  • James Applegate
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Carmen Ayala
  • Berwyn North School
  • District 98
  • Harry Berman
  • Former Executive Director,
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Anna Colaner
  • SGA Youth & Family Services
  • Jennifer Daly
  • Greater Peoria Economic
  • Development Council
  • Brian Durham
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Mark Eichenlaub
  • Southwestern Illinois College
  • Jennifer Foster
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Karen Garibay-Mulattieri
  • Latino Policy Forum
  • Cornelia Grumman
  • Robert R. McCormick Foundation
  • Christina Herzog
  • Crown Family Philanthropies
  • Susan Kleemann
  • Illinois Student
  • Assistance Commission
  • Eric Lichtenberger
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Dea Meyer
  • Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago
  • Jenny Nagaoka
  • University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
  • Rob Paral
  • Rob Paral and Associates
  • Paige Ponder
  • One Million Degrees
  • Elliot Regenstein
  • Chair, Illinois Longitudinal Data System Governing Board, Chair, Illinois Early Learning Council Data, Research, and Evaluation Subcommittee, Ounce of Prevention Fund
  • Mark Skertich
  • Southwestern Community Unit School District 9
  • Harvey Smith
  • Illinois Interactive Report Card
  • Rev. Starsky Wilson
  • Deaconess Foundation
  • Paul Zavitkovsky
  • Urban Education Leadership Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ginger Ostro
  • Executive Director
  • Alexandra Baptiste
  • Policy Associate
  • Ben Boer
  • Deputy Director
  • Angelica Chavez
  • Community Engagement Organizer
  • Bob Dolgan
  • Communications Director
  • Melissa Figueira
  • Policy Associate
  • Jim O’Connor
  • Project Director
  • Gwen Peebles
  • Government Relations Specialist
  • Kristin Pollock
  • Development Director
  • Teresa Ramos
  • Director of Community Engagement
  • Jose Resendiz
  • Graphic Designer
  • Jessica Rosolowski
  • Office Manager / Executive Assistant
  • Paige Williams
  • Policy Fellow

For more information, including a snapshot of every school in Illinois, visit the Illinois School Report Card.

For more information, including regional community and workforce data for each 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community, visit the 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community Dashboards.

How do student achievement trends in Illinois compare with those in other states? Visit The Education Trust’s State Academic Performance and Improvement Tool.

The To & Through Project provides educators, policymakers and families with resources that matter most for college success, so that every 9th grader who aspires to earn a college degree has the opportunity to do so.

  1. 1The Bridgespan Group, Pritzker Children’s Initiative, “Achieving Kindergarten Readiness for All Our Children,” 2015
  2. 2Public school students in the 9th-grade cohort tracked by Advance Illinois
  3. 3Our educational attainment benchmarks offer key metrics for policymakers to watch on the path from early childhood to college completion. To move from 50 percent to 60 percent of adults postsecondary-credentialed, we need to move metrics at every level. Depending on the metric, our methodology for setting those targets varies, but there are two fundamental strategies involved: top-down and bottom up. To examine how successfully our high schoolers are transitioning into and through higher education, Advance Illinois studied the progress of a cohorts of students who started ninth grade between 2005 and 2010.
  4. We set targets both by working backward from our overarching goal (“top-down”) and by growing the numbers of students meeting targets at earlier rungs of the ladder (“bottom up”). Our top-down strategy works backward from the 60 by 25 goal to set appropriate targets for numbers of 9th-graders and first-time college enrollees to complete postsecondary degrees. Our bottom-up strategy examines the determinants of college readiness and sets growth targets based on past performance of benchmark states who have made noteworthy progress in raising student achievement over the last decade.
  1. 4The Education Trust, Funding Gaps, 2015.
  2. 5Ibid
  3. 6The Bridgespan Group, Pritzker Children’s Initiative, “Achieving Kindergarten Readiness for All Our Children,” 2015.
  4. 7Hart, Betty and Risley, Todd; “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3,” American Educator, 2003.
  5. 8Joseph, Larry and Lloyd, David; “The Erosion of Early Childhood Investments in Illinois,” Voices for Illinois Children, 2014.
  6. 9Ibid
  7. 10NIEER, “The State of Preschool: 2005-2015,” United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2006-2014.
  8. 11The Ounce of Prevention Fund, Testimony at Illinois State Board of Education FY18 Budget Hearing, Oct. 20, 2016.
  9. 12Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Report Card 2016.
  10. 13Greater East St. Louis Early Learning Partnership and Innovation Zone
  11. 14National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2013, 2015
  1. 15Ibid
  2. 16Chingos, Matthew; “Breaking the Curve: Promises and Pitfalls in Using NAEP Data to Assess the State Role in Student Achievement,” Urban Institute, 2015.
  3. 17Ibid
  4. 18Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Report Card 2016.
  5. 19Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Report Card 2016.
  6. 20Ibid
  7. 21Lichtenberger, Eric J. and Dietrich, Cecile; “College Readiness and the Postsecondary Outcomes of High School Students,” Illinois Education Research Council, 2012.
  8. 22Students in the 9th-grade cohort tracked by Advance Illinois
  9. 23Complete College America, “Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere,” 2012.
  10. 24Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Report Card 2015, 2016.
  1. 25Interview with Tony Capalbo, Associate Dean for College and Career Readiness, McHenry Community College, 2016.
  2. 26Pew Research Center, “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” 2014.
  3. 27IPEDS, “Average net price (income 48,001-75,000) for students awarded Title IV federal financial aid,” “Grand total All students Undergraduate Degree/certificate-seeking First-time,” National Center of Education Statistics, 2009-2014; Census Bureau of Education Statistics, “Table H-8. Median Household Income by State,” accessed 2016.
  4. 28Illinois Student Assistance Commission, “MAP Matters,” February 2016
  5. 29Ibid
  6. 30Illinois Student Assistance Commission, “ISAC Survey: Uncertainty About MAP Could Lead Students to Delay a Degree or Drop Out,” July 2016.
  7. 31Quincy Promise,
  8. 32Center for American Progress, “Teacher Diversity Matters: A State-By-State Analysis of Teachers of Color,” 2011.