Progress can be a relative concept.
One of the requirements of No Child Left Behind legislation is for each public school district to report test scores, finance data and other information that detail the district’s performance. Last week, school district report cards were released, which describe various stats from financing, to census-like school composition and test scores.
But whether a school is successful based on these benchmarks depends on how the data is read.
When looking at the individual pieces of ’s report, the district ranks above the state averages for ACT, Prairie State Achievement Exam and Illinois Alternate Assessment test scores in 2011.
The PSAE and IAA numbers are percentages of students meeting or exceeding Illinois Learning Standards on overall test scores, and the ACT scores are total composite averages for the three D230 schools versus all state high schools.
IAADistrict 230 22.4 66.8 66.7 State 20.6 50.5 66.2
But the district is still considered below Adequate Yearly Progress, a standard created by No Child left Behind that draws mostly from test scores of the entire student population, including special education.
The district is far from alone. It is among 656 out of the state’s 666 public high school districts that did not meet AYP. Roughly 80 percent of all Illinois schools did not meet AYP standards.
“AYP is based on a steadily increasing percentage each year of students and subgroups of students (by ethnicity, income level, special education, etc.) who must meet or exceed state standards,” District 230 spokeswoman Carla Erdey wrote in an email. “If one group doesn't meet then the whole district doesn't meet AYP.”
Erdey further listed several other ways to look at a school’s effectiveness, including graduation rate, Advanced Placement test scores, college acceptance rates and success in dual enrollment courses that offer college credit for high school students.
“As a school district our goal is to prepare students to be successful, contributing members of society through whatever path they choose following graduation,” Erdey wrote in an email. “There is not just one indicator of that success.”
Graduation rate is another area in which each District 230 school fared better than the state.
2011 Graduation RateSandburg Stagg Andrew D230 (Avg.) State (Avg.) 96.8 95.3 95.8 96 83.8
District 230 also spent more money per student in the 2009-2010 school year than the state average.
Spending Per Student (2009-2010)
Erdey also noted an annual review publication is scheduled to be finished and made available by month's end that further elaborates on the district's efforts and features.
Patch will continue to look at the district's report card over the coming weeks. Do you have questions about the assessment? Leave them in our comments section, and we'll do our best to address them.