Across classrooms in Forest Park’s public schools, students who took the Illinois Standards Achievement Test demonstrated, overall, that they understand the concepts and basic skills of their respective grade-levels. However, two schools fell short of federal benchmarks that dictate at least 70 percent of students can perform grade-level work.

Results of the 2009 high-stakes exam were released Friday, and District 91 saw a slight decline in its scores when compared to 2008. The test was administered in the spring prior to the implementation of a districtwide restructuring that concentrates students by their grade level rather than their home address.

The Illinois Standards Achievement Test is administered annually under the federal No Child Left Behind Act and is used to determine whether a school is making “adequate yearly progress.” Each year, the legislation increases the threshold for making AYP, and in 2009 at least 70 percent of test-takers needed to demonstrate a grade-level understanding of the subjects.

Because of the school’s scores in reading, Field-Stevenson did not make adequate yearly progress. In third, fourth and fifth grade, only 59.3 percent of students are reading at an appropriate level, according to the results.

The school last failed to meet federal performance benchmarks in 2005.

Superintendent Lou Cavallo did not return calls seeking comment on the test scores.

Field-Stevenson saw significant drops in its third-grade test scores. Slightly fewer than 53 percent of third-graders there are reading at an age-appropriate level, according to the standardized test. That figure is a full 10 percentage points less than in 2008.

The Forest Park Middle School also missed federal benchmarks for student performance. Recently, standardized test scores at the school have been trending upwards, but subgroups within the student population have continually fallen short. In 2009, black students did poorly on the math portion of the exam. Only 59 percent scored at grade level. Similarly, those students who qualify for free and reduced lunches also struggled with the math portion of the test.

In math, third-graders at Field-Stevenson saw their scores fall off even further. Approximately 76 percent of those students are proficient in the subject – which is enough to satisfy established standards. But that percentage represents a 14-point dip from 2008 when almost 91 percent of third-graders scored as well.

Districtwide, students with disabilities and those from poorer households did not score well enough for District 91 to meet adequate yearly progress requirements.

The strongest test scores in the district came this year from students in the fourth grade. Across all subjects – reading, math and science – these students made significant gains over last year’s class.

How District 91 compares

Grade Subject District State

Third Reading 72% 72%

Math 83% 85%

Fourth Reading 77% 74%

Math 84% 86%

Science 76% 77%

Fifth Reading 67% 74%

Math 71% 82%

Sixth Reading 77% 80%

Math 74% 82%

Seventh Reading 75% 78%

Math 67% 83%

Science 75% 80%

Eighth Reading 74% 84%

Math 64% 82%

Percentages refer to students meeting
or exceeding standards