Adlai Stevenson High School

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

Stevenson scores among the top one percent of all high schools in Illinois on all areas of the state test.

Despite that fact that all Stevenson students must take the ACT exam and it is an optional test intended for only college-bound students in other states, the composite score of Stevenson students are in the top 1% of the nation and have increased over the past decade from 25.3 to 26.9.

Stevenson students write more Advanced Placement exams than any comprehensive high school in the world.  The number of students writing an exam has increased annually from 555 in 1995 to 1,843 in 2016.  The number of exams written has increased from 1,084 to 5,086 in the same time period.  Despite the explosion in AP participation, Stevenson students have averaged 84% and 88% honor grades and their mean score on the test has never fallen below 3.7.

For a more detailed analysis of the academic achievement of Stevenson High School students over time, see our website,

Standard and Poor’s named Stevenson as one of the “Academic Outperformers” among Illinois high schools. According to the Standard and Poor’s report, Stevenson students were significantly more successful on state assessments when compared to other schools with students of similar socio-economic status.

Northern Illinois University and the Illinois State Board of Education name an Academic Honor Roll for the schools in the state with the highest achievement on state assessments. Stevenson has been named to the highest level of that honor roll every year that it has existed.

Stevenson was referred to as “the most recognized and celebrated school in America,” by the United States Department of Education.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

All students enrolled in the same course complete a common final examination to ensure they have access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum regardless of the teacher to whom they are assigned. Common assessments have been created for every course by collaborative teams of teachers who teach the course, and these assessments are administered throughout the semester. All students and their parents receive either a progress report or a report card every three weeks throughout the school year. Grades are also posted online weekly.

2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

All freshmen are provided with a faculty advisor and upperclassman mentor who meet with them four days each week to monitor their academic success, emotional well being and progress in achieving the goals. An additional fifty minutes is set aside each day to provide students with structured study time and specific interventions if they are experiencing difficulty. Sophomores are also assigned to one period per day for study and/or intervention. Junior and seniors earn such privileges as unscheduled time, extended lunch, and open campus if they maintain good grades and good behavior. If they experience academic or behavioral problems those privileges are forfeited and students are assigned to the system of interventions until they complete the prerequisites for re-instatement of privileges.

For a full explanation of this system of interventions see Whatever it Takes: How a Professional Learning Community Responds When Kids Don’t Learn by DuFour, DuFour, and Eaker or contact Stevenson High School’s Student Services Division.

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

The entire staff is organized into collaborative teams, typically by course although a few teams are interdisciplinary and others are departmental. The start of instruction is delayed one day each week and teachers arrive to work early on that day to engage in a collaborative team meeting for approximately one hour. One day each month, the start of the school day is delayed three hours to provide teachers with more extended time for collaboration. Teams develop several common assessments each semester and use the results to impact their practice and to improve their programs. Each teacher is able to determine the success of his or her students on each skill assessed according to the agreed-upon standard established by the team, on these valid team assessments, in comparison to all the other students who completed that assessment. Each team is working to achieve SMART goals that are aligned with the goals of the department and school. Teachers serve as leaders of the various teams, and the opportunity to play a leadership role in the school extends far beyond the administration. The faculty convenes three times each year to celebrate indicators of progress and the commitment and success of various teams and individuals. The celebration of success at Stevenson has been explored by Mike Schmoker in the books Results and Results Now.

Additional Achievement Data

Scale:  Illinois State Department of Education required the ACT be taken by all juniors before 2015.  The State is currently transitioning to the SAT as its state test.



 (SHS / State)


 (SHS / State)


 (SHS / State)


 (SHS / State)


 (SHS / State)


26.2 / 20.9

26.6 / 20.5

27.0 / 21.0

25.3 / 20.7

25.3 / 20.8


26.5 / 20.6

26.5 / 20.2

27.2 / 20.7

25.8 / 20.4

25.8 / 20.5


26.4 / 20.7

26.7 / 20.3

26.7 / 20.7

25.8 / 20.8

25.6 / 20.5


26.5 / 20.7

26.5 / 20.3

26.8 / 20.7

26.3 / 20.8

25.8 / 20.6


26.9 / 20.8

27.0 / 20.5

27.0 / 20.6

26.6 / 21.0

26.4 / 20.6


One of three public high schools in the nation to win the USDE Blue Ribbon Award on four occassions.

One of the first comprehensive high schools in the nation to be named A New American High School by USDE as a model of successful school reform.

One of the highest ranked comprehensive public schools in Newsweek’s annual list of the top high schools in the country.

Cited as a school that has excelled in academic achievement and promoting ethical behavior on the part of its students (Smart and Good High School).

The recipient of state’s “Break the Mold Award” for successful innovative practices.

The recipient of the state’s first Professional Learning Community award.

Featured in over a dozen books in the professional literature as an exemplar of best practice by such authors as Rick DuFour, Becky DuFour, Robert Eaker, Tom Sergiovanni, Mike Schmoker, Terry Deal, Joan Richardson, and Thomas Lickona.

In 2016, identified Adlai E. Stevenson High School as the #1 public High School in the Nation.