Mt. Vernon Register-News

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November 8, 2013

Three high schools see drop in test scores

This article is the third in a four-part series on Illinois School Report Card data.

MT. VERNON — The three rural Jefferson County high schools saw declining state test scores in 2012-2013, according to Illinois School Report Card data.

Of the three schools, Webber Township High School had the highest overall score, while Woodlawn Community High School and Waltonville High School had slightly lower results.

In 2012-2013, 47 percent of Webber students met or exceeded state standards on the Prairie State Achievement Examination. This compares to 52 percent the prior year and the state average of 53 percent.

Webber Principal Brock Harris said 47 percent is “not too bad” of a score compared with other schools in Southern Illinois.

He also pointed out that Webber's scores are markedly better than they were two or three years ago when only about 20 percent of students were meeting or exceeding the standards.

“It's been a complete turnaround as far as I'm concerned,” Harris said.

In both the reading and math categories, 47 percent of Webber students met or exceeded the PSAE standards for 2012-2013. The prior year's percentages were 46 for reading and 58 for math.

Furthermore, in science, 41 percent of Webber students met or exceeded the standards in 2012-2013, compared to 42 percent the prior year.

In Woodlawn's case, 45 percent of students met or exceeded the PSAE standards in 2012-2013, compared to 57 percent the year before.

Woodlawn Principal Thomas Rude said his school's overall scores have stayed “pretty consistent” over time, fluctuating between 42 and 57 percent.

The state, he said, has continued to raise the standards for the PSAE, which has made things more difficult for students.

Even so, Rude said he will examine the test results with the superintendent and the Board of Education to determine if there are ways to improve.

“We'd like to see it go up. We'd like to see as many students pass as possible,” Rude said.

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