The Wirepoints report, based upon published data from standardized tests performed in Illinois in 2019, indicates that many young children in Illinois public schools have not been taught to read at appropriate age levels. Massive experience, validated in many school settings among many different groups of children, shows that if children do not learn how to read at an age where their brain is fitted to become excited about new things, many of them will not make up the lost ground later. The Wirepoints report concentrates on Illinois third graders, children age 8 to 9, and counts how many of them could read in 2019 at a grade level that is appropriate for that age.
The report found that only 36% of the tested Illinois third-graders could read words and grasp reading concepts at a level appropriate for that age group. Illinois third-graders’ ability to complete simple math quizzes – a skill that depends on reading ability – showed similar numbers.
In addition to statewide numbers, the Wirepoints analysts performed a case-study deep dive into numbers from Decatur School District 61, a large downstate school district that serves a diverse student population. The case study indicates that few of the young students in this traditionally industrial city are learning how to take in information in a way that will allow them to be successful later in life. Only 9% of Decatur’s third grade students could demonstrate grade-level reading ability on a 2019 battery of standardized tests.
In an editorial, “Illinois’s Shocking Report Card,” published on October 4, the Wall Street Journal stated that “The Land of Lincoln is failing its children and covering it up.”