Blog | August 29, 2022

ILEARN 2022: Examining Math and ELA Progress

Every spring, Hoosier students in grades 3-8 take the ILEARN test. As we shared in a previous blog post rounding up this year’s results, a single test cannot tell us everything about an individual student. Nor can a school’s holistic ILEARN results tell us everything about that school. Nonetheless, we strongly believe that ILEARN results help us determine a starting point and can show us important information that can be leveraged to provide the support that schools and students need to accelerate learning and growth. 

It is also important to note that each grade level, K-12, has standards for math and ELA. The ILEARN test is built with those standards in mind in order to carefully assess students’ critical thinking schools and whether or not they have mastered grade level content in those subject areas.

In particular, ILEARN data helps us understand students’ needs, how schools and districts are serving students academically, and how student subgroups are being served academically. This blog picks those three items apart in relation to math and English Language Arts (ELA) passing rates on the 2022 ILEARN. 

Marion County ELA Progress: Charters Outperform Other Marion County Districts

Eleven different school districts serve more than 150,000 students across Marion County. In addition, independent charter schools in Indianapolis currently educate more than 13,400 students, a total enrollment that is bigger than all but four of the 11 Marion County districts. 

In 2022, statewide student performance averages increased by 1.7 percentage points to 30.2%. That combined passing rate includes students who passed both the ELA and math portions of ILEARN. However, many students only pass one portion of the test. Looking at ELA and math passing rates by district is also informative as it provides a glimpse into what specific areas of strength or weakness an individual district has in relation to student outcomes. 

Notably, independent charter schools increased their ELA passing rate by 4.1 percentage points, which outperformed the other 11 Marion County districts. Innovation Network Schools also achieved notable progress as part of Indianapolis Public Schools as the district posted the third best ELA percentage point growth in the county.

Chart: ELA student group Pass Rates and Change Percentages for 11 Indianapolis school districts and charter schools. Note: FRL is an abbreviation of “Free or Reduced Lunch”

Independent charter schools also outperformed all 11 Marion County districts when it comes to their increase in ELA passing rates for Black students. Black students who attend independent charter schools achieved 5.9 percentage point gains on the ELA portion of ILEARN. That gain is more than double the next closest Marion County district and comes at a time when three districts actually saw their Black student passing rates decline and six other districts improved their Black student passing rate by less than one percentage point. 

Independent charter school performance held strong across Latino and FRL subgroups as well. They were in the top two among all Marion County districts when it came to improving ELA pass rates for these student subgroups. Again, these gains came at a time when multiple other districts saw their subgroup passing rates decline. In fact, Pike Township is the only Marion County district that saw their ELA passing rates decline across every student subgroup in the chart above.

Black and Latino ELA Gaps: Charters Closing Gaps Faster

Another important factor to analyze when looking through ILEARN results is how well schools and districts are closing Black/White and Latino/White student opportunity gaps. Independent charter schools placed in the top two among all Marion County districts in relation to the size of their gaps between both aforementioned student groups.

Chart: ELA racial achievement gaps for 11 Indianapolis school districts and charter schools.

Independent charter schools also excelled at closing these gaps with their Black/White gap closing by 8.3 percentage points and their Latino/White gap closing by 5.4 percentage points. This occurred at a time when many other local districts saw their performance gaps grow. Only one other district in either the Black/White or Latino/White category reduced their gap with some seeing their opportunity gaps grow by as much as five percentage points or more.   

Marion County Math Progress: Charters and Innovation Schools Make Progress

Both independent charter schools and Innovation Network Schools saw meaningful percentage point gains on the math portion of the 2022 ILEARN. Independent charter schools posted a 4.7 percentage point gain in math and Indianapolis Public Schools, which includes Innovation Network Schools, grew their math passing rate by 5.1 percentage points.

Chart: Math student group Pass Rates and Change Percentages for 11 Indianapolis school districts and charter schools.

As a collective, independent charter schools posted percentage point gains in the top three for all student subgroups displayed in the chart above. Again similar to ELA results, this occurs while other Marion County districts are seeing their overall or subgroup passing rates decline, taking them even farther away from pre-pandemic passing rates that were already too low. 

Black and Latino Math Gaps: Charters Closing Gaps Faster

ILEARN Math achievement gaps and which schools are doing the most about them largely mirror the ELA results discussed earlier. For starters, independent charter schools have the smallest Black/White math opportunity gap and the second smallest Latino/White opportunity gap. In addition, they are closing their remaining gaps by the biggest margin. Their Black/White gap shrunk by 2.2 percentage points while their Latino/White gap closed by 4.3 percentage points.

Chart: Math racial achievement gaps for 11 Indianapolis school districts and charter schools.

While ILEARN is not the only data point that matters about a school, it is important to look at which districts are moving students in the right direction. Independent charter schools grew student passing rates in every category for both math and ELA. On top of that, Indianapolis’ independent charter schools are more quickly closing the opportunity gaps between their white students and their students of color compared to all 11 other Marion County districts.

We encourage everyone in our community to look at this year’s ILEARN data and stay informed about which schools are making the most progress for students.