Mt. Vernon Register-News

September 21, 2013

District 80 schools examine ISAT results

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Students at the J.L. Buford Intermediate Center have met the federal Adequate Yearly Progress requirements in reading, according to the results of this past spring's ISAT exams.

Dee Ann Schnautz, director of curriculum, instruction and assessments for District 80, gave a brief overview of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test results at Wednesday's Board of Education meeting.

And while Buford was the only District 80 school to make AYP, Schnautz said she is pleased with the ISAT results overall. AYP is a measurement used by the federal government to determine how public schools are performing academically.

“We always want it to be better than it is, (but) we're thrilled we had a group meet AYP in reading,” Schnautz said. “I want us to make AYP in every category.”

Third through eighth grade students at District 80 schools took the ISAT exams in the spring.

This year's ISAT was much more rigorous as it incorporated Illinois Common Core standards in English/language arts and mathematics. Previous year's tests did not include those standards, Schnautz said.

“It's a little difficult to compare this year's test to last year's test,” Schnautz said. “They're not the same.”

Next year, ISAT will be replaced with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, which is almost entirely based on Common Core standards.

Buford students this spring achieved AYP in reading on the ISAT tests. In addition, all student subgroups qualified for “Safe Harbor,” which grants students AYP status based on certain standards, Schnautz said.

For Casey Middle School, ISAT reading scores increased slightly in spring 2013 in “several categories,” Schnautz said.

Also, in math, the black student subgroup at Casey made Safe Harbor. However, to make AYP in that way, all of a school's subgroups have to get Safe Harbor status.

The Primary Center's reading scores increased for non-poverty students in the spring ISAT, and math scores rose for the white student subgroup, Schnautz said.

Schnautz said she has not yet calculated the percentage increases and decreases for the spring ISAT exams. Her presentation at Wednesday's school board meeting was intended to be a very brief summary of the results.

This January, school officials will take a much more in-depth look at the test results during the annual board retreat. At that time, Schnautz said she will have percentages.

Superintendent Mike Green expressed gratitude to the students and staff for the ISAT results. He said the exams are preceded by months of preparation and hard work.

“I'm really pleased with how the students performed on the test,” Green said. “There were some good scores, some good data to look at.”