Illinois releases 2021 report cards

On Dec. 2, Illinois state education officials released the first school report cards since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report cards, which include information about academic performance and school demographics, are followed up with assessments within each school. 

 For the most recent ETHS school report card, Evanston Patch reported declining academic proficiency following the pandemic. 

“ We hear about math scores dropping all over the nation, and the state drops on average 17 percent,” Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said. “There are many schools that dropped more than that, and [ETHS] dropped two or three percent.”

While 42 percent of ETHS students failed to meet the state English standard and 45 percent did not meet the state math benchmark in 2017, new data shows that this percentage rose in 2019 and then continued to rise throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the most recent report card, the percentage of juniors who met or exceeded English standards on the SAT remained stagnant at 53 percent compared to information from 2019, but the percentage of juniors who met or exceeded math standards dropped to 48 percent, down from 50 percent. 

ETHS’ report card shows less of a decline than the state average. Compared to 2019, 16.6 percent fewer students in Illinois as a whole met English standards, while 17.8 percent fewer students met math standards. 

Many educators and members of the Illinois State Board of Education attribute these changes to the unforeseen circumstances and unconventional learning environments brought forth by the pandemic. However, ETHS administrators believe that quantitative measures of student success will only continue to rise in the coming years as students, staff and the Evanston community at large recover from COVID-19. 

“We have to start realizing that the damage done by the pandemic was not that brutal here at ETHS,” Witherspoon said.