Results of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test were finally released by the state this month, and District 91 as a whole made Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Compared with schools across the state though, the district found itself well below the Illinois average.

District 91 achieved a combined score of 69.5, which represents the number of students meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations. This percentage ranks the district behind the state average of 77 percent.

On the whole, scores across the state and in Dist. 91 improved over the 2005 results, however, state officials warn that few comparisons can be made between the tests. According to the state, “substantial changes” were made to the 2006 exam.

Grade 3

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 5







District 91 Average







Betsy Ross







Field Stevenson







Garfield Elm














Percent of students meeting or exceeding state standards

In 2005, the district did not make AYP in reading or math. In that year, special education students failed to meet performance standards.

Superintendent Randolph Tinder declined to comment on the district’s report card or the ISAT scores pending a meeting with the board of education on Thursday, March 15. At that meeting, board members will discuss the scores publicly for the first time.

Schools across the state have complained about the timing of the state’s release of the ISAT scores, and in Forest Park, the concerns are no different. Just seven days after the scores were released, teachers found themselves administering the 2006-07 exam. Beginning this week, Forest Park students and others across the state began a week of testing.

At Betsy Ross Elementary School, educators will be looking for continued success, as the school had the highest ISAT scores in the district. More than 78 percent of the students met or exceeded state benchmarks for grade-level performance in math and reading.

At Grant-White Elementary, 53.5 percent of the students met performance standards in those subjects, the lowest combined score of any school in the district.

In not receiving the 2006 scores in a more timely fashion, Field-Stevenson Elementary School Principal Robert Giovannoni said teachers are deprived of any meaningful opportunity to make adjustments in time for the 2007 tests this week.

“It was impossible to use empirical data to draw up a school improvement plan, at least for the ISAT,” Giovannnoni said.

Had the results been received months ago as expected, administrators and teachers could have used the summer months to tweak classroom instruction, Giovannoni said. The changes wouldn’t likely be sweeping, but the tests help point out which material could use additional emphasis, he said.

Phone calls to principals in the district’s three other elementary schools were not returned. Also, calls to the district’s testing coordinator and middle school Assistant Principal Beth Kovacic were not returned.

At the middle school, reading skills among eighth-graders appear particularly strong.

In 2005, eighth-grade students split themselves largely between two groups; those with limited skills who are performing “below standards,” and those who demonstrate proficiency and “meet standards.” According to the district’s 2005 report card, 43 percent of eighth-graders did not meet proficiency standards, while 48 percent did. Another 8 percent scored in the highest category and exceeded grade-level expectations.

In 2006, according to the new scores, nearly 75 percent of eighth-grade students met proficiency standards in reading. Within the subgroups of white and black students, more than 70 percent of kids in either category met proficiency standards.

However, the district has been emphasizing math skills, particularly among black students, at this grade-level and the new ISAT scores show those kids are largely divided. More than 50 percent of black eighth-graders tested below grade-level in math.

Seventh-graders, who were also tested in science, did quite well on the exams. More than 70 percent of the district’s students met or exceeded grade-level expectations in math and reading. Some 80 percent hit those marks in science.

Among younger students, reading proved difficult for third-graders, almost 43 percent of whom did not meet grade-level expectations. In math, however, 83 percent of Dist. 91 third-graders met or exceeded grade-level requirements on the ISAT.

A slightly larger percentage of fifth-grade students, 54 percent, are reading at grade level than those who are not. Black students who took the reading test as fifth-graders appeared to struggle with the material, according to the district’s report card. More than 66 percent did not meet grade-level expectations.

More than 81 percent of their white counterparts did.

A similar breakdown of student performance by subgroup within individual schools is contained within each school’s report card issued by the state board of education. District officials declined to release that data prior to the March 15 board meeting.

The Illinois Board of Education was expected to make those reports available to the public on its website on Tuesday, March 13. Publication deadlines prevented the Review from reporting those data.