Proviso Township High School District 209 had some good news to share when the Illinois State Board of Education made public the scores of the PSAE and ACT tests for 2012-13.

Reading scores on the Prairie State Achievement Exams at Proviso East High School were the bright spot of the district’s test data. The percentage of students who met the state’s “meet-or-exceed” score in reading doubled from 10 to 20 percent. Proviso West students also improved their reading scores to 27 percent from 22 percent.

These gains still are considered underperforming, compared to state averages of 55 percent meet-or-exceed in reading results for 2012-13.

In math, Proviso East lost significant ground in test scores, which fell from an already low 15 percent meet-or-exceed to 11 percent. Science scores at Proviso East pushed into the double digits by rising one point to 10 percent from 9 percent.

In math, Proviso West rose by one point to 24 percent meet-or-exceed from 23. Science scores remained the same at 17 percent.

The state averages in math and science were 52 percent in math and 49 percent in science.

“Our target is to meet or exceed the state average,” D209 Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart said on the district website. “We clearly have some work to do. This is a move in the right direction, and we need to make a trend of improvement in all areas across multiple years.”

Other good news for the district: The number of students who sat for the PSAE exams at Proviso East rose to 94 percent. The district countered a school culture of skipping the last day of testing by conducting a “take the test” campaign throughout the district.

Among the bright spots, the high school graduation rate for Proviso East rose by 10 points from 63 to 73 percent of students graduating in four years and 66 percent graduating in five. Graduation levels were at an all-time low in 2011 when only 60 percent of students graduated.

Still, there was sobering news in the data. Only 5 percent of Proviso East students are considered “ready for college coursework,” based on ACT composite scores. District-wide, 20 percent of students were considered ready for college. The state average is 46 percent.

The chronic truancy rate at Proviso East spiked in 2012-13 to 74 percent from 43 percent of students who missed more than 5 percent of school days in unexcused absences. The state chronic truancy rate level is 10 percent.

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...