Mt. Vernon Register-News

November 21, 2013

MVTHS questions report data

The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School's 2012-2013 state test results may be higher than what's listed in the district's School Report Card, said Superintendent Michael Smith.

School officials discussed the Report Card information at Tuesday night's meeting of the MVTHS Board of Education.

At that time, Smith questioned the accuracy of some of the Report Card data related to the percentage of MVTHS students who met or exceeded state standards on the Prairie State Achievement Examination.

According to Smith, the state normally excludes students' scores from the overall percentages if they have not been enrolled at the school for at least a year prior to taking the PSAE.

For their score to factor in, a student has to have been enrolled at the school from May 1 of the prior year to May 1 of the school year they are taking the test, Smith said.

So, for example, a student who enrolled in October of the year they are to take the test would be excluded from the overall percentage.

“They have to be enrolled in our school and still here for a year,” Smith said. “In other words, they need to be in our school their junior year basically when they take the test.”

In calculating MVTHS' Report Card data, however, it seems the state did not exclude all the students it should have, Smith said. The state factored in the scores of 325 students instead of 296.

If these students had been left out, the district's test results would have been 3 or 4 percentage points higher, depending on the category, Smith said.

Currently, the Report Card for 2012-2013 indicates that 46 percent of MVTHS students met or exceeded standards on the overall PSAE. With the proper exclusions, though, the total would have been around 50 percent, Smith said.

In reading, 50 percent of MVTHS students met or exceeded the PSAE standards, according to the Report Card. The score was 43 percent for both math and science.

With the exclusions, these scores would jump to 53 percent for reading, 47 percent for math and 46 percent for science, Smith said.

“That's a lot better than what's on the Report Card,” Smith said.

Smith said he has contacted the state about his concerns and the state is now researching the matter. He expects to hear back from the state soon.

The School Report Card is released annually by the Illinois State Board of Education.

MVTHS Principal Wes Olson said he just wants to make sure the Report Card data is accurate.

While the score increases would not have been enough for MVTHS to make adequate yearly progress standards for 2012-2013, they are still significant in charting the district's improvement, Olson said.

“There's a little discrepancy there,” Olson said of the Report Card data. “We're trying to work with ISBE (to determine) why that is.”