Parents Being Asked for Input on '5Essentials'

The state survey is designed to improve student learning.

Parents, teachers and students are being asked to weigh in on a variety of topics through the Illinois State Board of Education online Illinois 5Essentials Survey to help the state identify its strengths and areas needing improvement.

Between now and March 31, 2013, Plainfield School District 202 teachers, students and parents are asked and encouraged to take the “Illinois 5Essentials Survey” to help identify strengths and weaknesses in their school’s climate and learning conditions.

Parents and certified staff members can take the Illinois 5Essentials Survey by clicking on the link on the front page of the District 202 web site (www.psd202.org) under “Announcements.” 

Sixth- through 12th-graders will take the survey during school before March 31. The 5Essentials Survey is a 15-minute research-based survey and responses will be completely confidential.

“This new research tool will help us further improve our teaching and services to our students, families and community, by letting us hear what our ‘clients’ honestly think,” said Glenn Wood, District 202 assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey provides a comprehensive assessment of school organizational culture with actionable reports to help drive school improvement on five indicators or “essentials”:

  • Effective Leaders
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Involved Families
  • Supportive Environment
  • Ambitious Instruction

Illinois 5Essentials generates data that helps schools target resources and make decisions that help accelerate learning and test score gains. Illinois 5Essentials also demonstrates that teachers and students can play a crucial role in school reform: What they share about their schools reliably predicts whether those schools are likely to improve or stagnate.

Based on 20 years of research conducted by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research in more than 400 schools, the 5Essentials have been shown to be strongly predictive of school improvement. Schools strong in 3 to 5 of the Essentials are 10 times more likely to improve student learning than schools weak in 3 to 5 of the Essentials. Those differences remain true even after controlling for student and school characteristics, including poverty, race, gender, and neighborhood characteristics. Strength on components within the Essentials also correlates with increased teacher retention, student attendance, college enrollment, and high school graduation.

 “The State Board has long understood that test scores alone do not offer the full picture of schools and learning,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. 

“The Illinois 5Essentials Survey will finally help us paint that fuller picture of learning conditions and guide local and state improvement initiatives so that every student has access to a world class education.” 

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey, required to be implemented this school year by legislation passed in 2011, represents the first attempt by a state to administer a statewide survey of learning conditions to teachers, students, and parents.

Statewide summary results will be shared with ISBE this summer. School-level results will be sent to schools this summer and will be part of the 2013 school report cards, typically released by ISBE at the end of October. Federal Race to the Top funds are covering the cost of the survey.


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