HUNTLEY – Huntley High School was the only school in District 158 to make academic progress in 2013 under federal education standards – a rare feat that most high schools in Illinois don’t often accomplish.
The high school made significant improvement in the area of reading on the state standardized test given to juniors and used to measure adequate yearly progress under the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act.
The school eclipsed AYP under the law’s safe harbor target, an alternative way to meet yearly progress through individual student subgroups.
“The fact that our high school, especially as big as we are, made AYP is truly phenomenal,” Superintendent John Burkey said.
It marks the first time since 2008 that Huntley High made adequate yearly progress. Only 11 high schools throughout the state made adequate yearly progress last year, according to the state board of education.
The AYP metric routinely has been criticized for labeling schools as failing even if schools show improvement from year to year and for relying too heavily on standardized test scores.
The district overall did not meet adequate yearly progress. Chief Academic Officer Mike Moan detailed the new achievement results to school board members during their meeting Thursday.
In the elementary schools, students in 2013 showed improvement in the areas of math and reading. But the standardized test results come with a caveat.
The state raised the performance level in 2013 on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test to align the standardized test with the new Common Core curriculum standards.
The change on paper dropped the district’s ISAT scores from the 90-point range to the 70-point range. Applying the new standards to the past three years, the district overall is still seeing improvement with its ISAT scores, Moan said.
Elementary students districtwide in 2013 met or exceeded standards in reading by 77 percent compared with 71 percent in 2011, under the new standards. For math, 77 percent of students met or exceeded students compared with 73 percent in 2011.
The district will be notifying parents of the ISAT changes when the scores are sent home later this year.
“We want to make sure parents understand that their student didn’t necessarily change, but that the cut score changed,” Moan said.