Standardized test scores improved across all District 91 elementary schools in the 2009 -2010 school year compared to the year before, according to report card data released by the State Board of Education last week.
Even so, Field Stevenson and Forest Park Middle School did not meet the threshold for “Adequate Yearly Progress,” and the middle school was also identified for “school improvement” under the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Field Stevenson, though, showed some great gains, particularly in the reading category of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, said Superintendent Lou Cavallo. About 71.6 percent of students at Field Stevenson either met or exceeded state standards set forth by the exam, compared to 65.6 percent last year.
Overall, “the vast majority of students are doing better across the board,” Cavallo said. “We just fell a little short with the two schools.”
One factor that affects the results is that state standards have continued to rise year after year. The test scores this year would have met last year’s goals, Cavallo said.
What’s more, if certain “subgroups,” such as special education students, do not meet standards, then the entire school is labeled as failing.
As for the other schools, Grant White had 83 percent of students meet standards compared to 72.6 percent last year, while 75.2 percent of kids at Forest Park Middle School made the mark, up from 72.1 percent last year. (Students at Betsy Ross and Garfield, which serve pre-kindergarten to second grade, do not take ISAT exams.) District 91 as a whole reported that 75.7 percent of students met the mark, compared to 73.8 percent the year before.
Even though the ISAT exams are used to compare schools throughout the state, the results are an “arbitrary measure” that do not provide much information on how to improve, Cavallo said.
“It’s one test, given on one day,” he said. “And it’s about students that are no longer in that grade. … But I can say that we’re making progress and that our schools are increasing, which is what we want to see.”
Here are additional test results provided by the school report cards:
About 68.9 percent of District 91 third graders taking the ISAT exam passed the standards in reading, down from 72.1 last year. In math, they stayed relatively the same: 82 percent passed this year compared to 82.5 percent last year.
District 91 fourth graders reported 71.6 percent passing in reading, down from 77.3 percent last year. Math scores were slightly down, too, at 80.7 percent compared to 83.5 the previous year. Science scores slightly increased at 77.8 percent up from 76 percent passing.
Fifth graders in the district dramatically improved their reading scores with 80.9 percent passing compared to 67.4 percent the year before. Math results remained relatively equal at 71 percent meeting standards.
District 91 sixth graders dropped in reading, posting 69.6 percent passing from 76.5 the previous year. In math, they slightly dropped at 72 percent meeting goals compared to 73.5 last year.
Seventh graders stayed pretty equal in reading: 76.1 percent this year as opposed to 75.2 percent before. They showed the greatest gain in math with 80.4 percent passing, up from 67 percent. They also improved in science with 84.8 percent compared to 75.2 percent.
Finally, District 91 eighth graders decreased in reading with 71.7 percent passing compared to 73.9 percent the year before. Lastly, in math, the eighth graders jumped from 64 percent last year to 73.2 percent this year.