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Students from Forest Park who attend Proviso Township High School District 209 are among the worst starting out but are the most improved after one year in the district, according to a study presented to the D209 school board on Nov. 20.

Overall, Forest Park students show grade point averages near the bottom of the district but had the top ACT scores at Proviso Math and Science Academy.

Student test data was sorted by community in the survey, which examined test scores of the current crop of students at Proviso East and West high schools and PMSA. Ten different communities feed into the district.

The 161 Forest Park students at Proviso East High School averaged the second-lowest test scores district-wide on the eighth grade EXPLORE test. Forest Park students averaged 13 points with a standard deviation of 2.338 points. The 1,058 Maywood students averaged 12.7 scores.

But in ninth grade, the Forest Park students had the highest EXPLORE averages in the high school at 14.1 (deviation 2.65). Broadview’s students were second, averaging 14.0.

The achievement of Forest Park-derived students at Proviso East was still lackluster overall, the data showed. Proviso East’s Forest Park students averaged the lowest GPA (1.896) and lowest ACT scores (14.5).

At Proviso Math and Science Academy, the story was different.

The 53 students from Forest Park averaged 18.3 on the eighth grade EXPLORE. This was in the middle of the 10 feeder community scores, the highest being Stone Park (19.2 with 36 students). Forest Park students then had an only-slightly improved 18.5 on the ninth-grade EXPLORE assessment. Forest Park-derived students also had the lowest average GPA in the school, 2.92. The highest GPA averages, by village, were Westchester’s 87 students with 3.36 and Hillside’s 75 PMSA students with 3.28.

But Forest Park students averaged the highest ACT scores at PMSA with a 23.8. Westchester was second with an average of 22.8.

The numbers and scores were teased out for analysis by Ed Moyer, executive director of assessment and planning, who was attempting to discern whether test scores and socio-economic status in feeder communities were linked.

He noted that average village income and achievement didn’t necessarily overlap, and that outlier student test scores might have more weight because of the small number of Forest Park students.

That means, for students in poorer communities, the resources are scarcer.

“What we can’t control is what we call ‘the curriculum of the home,'” Moyer said. “But we did discover this year that 90 percent of our students have a computer or Internet access, including 89 percent who have access to a smart phone or tablet.”

The district is looking into providing online resources for students to bring enrichment to home environments among poorer students, Moyer said.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...