Mt. Vernon Register-News

November 7, 2013

District 80 has mixed test results

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

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

MT. VERNON — District 80 as a whole did not meet adequate yearly progress standards for 2012-2013, but saw gains in reading scores that year, according to recently released School Report Card data.

Overall, 42 percent of district students met or exceeded state standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test for 2012-2013. This is equal to the district's percentage in 2011-2012, but below the state average of 59 percent.

In the reading category, 43 percent of district students met or exceeded ISAT standards for 2012-2013, up from the prior year's 41 percent and below the state average of 59 percent.

For math, 41 percent of students met or exceeded the standards in 2012-2013, down from the previous year's 44 percent and below the state average of 59 percent.

Science scores for the district remained at 67 percent, equal to the prior year and below the state average of 80 percent.

“The scores we look at very closely,” said Superintendent Mike Green. “We do strategic planning to look at our weaknesses.”

The School Report Card also includes test score data for three individual schools in District 80.

A total of 39 percent of Casey Middle School students met or exceeded the ISAT standards in 2012-2013, compared to 38 percent the prior year.

The school's reading percentage rose from 36 to 39 percent in 2012-2013, and the math score dropped from 41 to 39 percent that year. The science score stayed the same at 63 percent.

In addition, the black subgroup of students at Casey Middle School were able to make AYP in math under Safe Harbor guidelines.

At the J.L. Buford Intermediate Center, 45 percent of students met or exceeded overall ISAT standards in 2012-2013, up from the previous year's 44 percent.

Also, the center's reading percentage increased from 43 to 47 percent in 2012-2013, and the math score dropped from 46 to 43 percent that year. The science score rose from 44 to 45 percent.

Buford students were able to make AYP for reading under Safe Harbor guidelines.

“I think that's good news,” said Dee Ann Schnautz, director of currculum, instruction and assessments for District 80.

At the Primary Center, 44 percent of students met or exceeded overall ISAT standards in 2012-2013, down from the prior year's 50 percent.

The school's reading percentage also dropped from 52 to 48 percent in 2012-2013, and math fell from 49 to 40 percent that year. There were no science scores for the Primary Center.

Assistant Superintendent Aletta Lawrence pointed out that the state raised the performance expectations for reading and math in January, which helps explain some of the district's lower scores.

“Last year, those scores would have looked better,” Lawrence said. “They raised the bar, which is fine, but it makes it look like things are darker than they seem.”

Green said there are major changes on the horizon for the ISAT test.

Next year, the test will completely reflect the new Common Core standards, which establish new learning requirements in English language arts and math.

District 80 teachers have been working diligently to prepare their students for these rigorous new standards, Green said.

“We're making significant strides,” Green said. “It's a major shift.”

District 80 officials will present the School Report Card data to the Board of Education at the annual board retreat in January.

School Report Card information is released each year by the Illinois State Board of Education.