Data and Continuous Improvement

What is data?

When we talk about data, we are referring to the different types of information educators collect to support student progress and strengthen our education system. Ideally, data should provide a holistic picture of a student’s educational path. Beginning with a profile of a child’s language and developmental progress as they start preschool all the way through to the career they eventually choose, data serves to inform where we might improve the education system to best meet the needs of the students in it. We can measure and support student, educator, district, and state improvement by having clear metrics and standards and monitoring progress.

Why does it matter?

Data gives us insight into the current state of the education system in Illinois. We can see where we are on the path to preparing our students for life in the real world. We can also pinpoint weaknesses in the system and use this critical information to make sure we are making continuous improvements. Data use should be as transparent as possible, with educators and parents having access to quality information about student and school performance so they know how to support students individually and at the school and district level. However, we must also be careful how data is used and shared, recognizing that protecting student privacy is a primary concern.

Illinois is currently developing a longitudinal data system (LDS) to house information across a student’s career from pre-K through postsecondary. This comprehensive view of student performance allows educators to follow students over time and across systems and better understand what is working well and what challenges should be addressed.

What is Advance Illinois doing?

  • We continue to advocate for high quality data to support continuous improvement in the education system in Illinois.
  • We assisted in the overhaul of the nationally recognized Illinois Report Card, improving its accessibility to parents and educators alike.  The new report card provides parents with a clear picture of how their students are progressing and educators with key information for supporting student growth.
  • We supported the passage of Senate Bill 7 in 2012, which created more substantive professional feedback and added student performance as a component of teacher evaluations statewide. We supported this shift to ensure students have access to quality education and teachers and principals receive feedback that helps them grow and improve.
  • Advance Illinois participates in the Illinois P-20 Council Data Assessment and Accountability Committee, which provides the Illinois State Board of Education with recommendations for improving student assessments, reports on school and student progress, and guidelines for quality data collection and use.


The State We’re In: 2016-2017 measures Illinois’ educational performance from early childhood through postsecondary education.

The Illinois Report Card provides information about public schools across the state to help community members and parents understand school performance.

An Illinois case study: Three ways states can partner with districts to improve resource use.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education houses and maintains a collection of data from and about institutions of higher education in the state.