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New survey ranks Illinois schools below average in reading, math scores

August 3, 2018

Illinois’ exceptionally high SAT scores saved the state from a bottom-tier ranking in the latest school quality survey.

Illinois comes in 21st on WalletHub’s latest school performance list, in large part because the state has the highest median SAT scores in the nation.

Most Illinois students take the ACT; usually it’s just students headed for East Coast schools who take the SAT.

Other than that, Wallethub’s Jill Gonzalez said Illinois ranks 29th in math scores and 30th in reading scores.

“Illinois’ school ranking is 21st overall. Not in the bottom half by any means, but I think parents would expect some improvement,” Gonzalez said. “But at the same time, Illinois spends the 15th highest on its students.”

The report found Illinois spends $13,875 per student per year. In terms of spending, Illinois ranked 15th, but its performance was ranked 21st. Other states spent less money and got better results. For example, North Dakota ranked 43rd in spending, but 11th in quality.

Massachusetts, which is Wallethub’s top-ranked state, spends $17,381 per student. New Mexico, which is Wallethub’s bottom state, spends $10,520 on each student. Wallethub said its spending figures came from the National Education Association.

“We would assume that because the spending (in Illinois) is so high, that the quality would be just as high. And that’s not necessarily the case,” Gonzalez said. “We’re seeing high spending and sort of average quality. And I think that’s what parents would want to see changed.”

Illinois scored below average in school safety when it comes to things such as bullying and the number of students who are threatened each year.

The Wallethub survey ranked Illinois public schools 40th in the nation when it comes to school safety.

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