CRYSTAL LAKE – Ascending expectations on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test likely have caused Crystal Lake District 47 to fall short of the federal benchmark for a third consecutive year.
While specific numbers will not be available until the end of October, Jean Bevevino, the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum, told school board members Monday not to expect to see 92.5 percent of students meeting or exceeding Adequate Yearly Progress standards.
“We’re certainly not thrilled with these results, but we’re not surprised,” said Bevevino, noting changes were made to testing in 2013 that made it more difficult for students to reach the standards.
Still, the summarized report showed District 47 schools outscored state averages by 12 percentage points in reading and 16 percentage points in math. Improved scores were also seen in minority and low-income students.
Under the 2001 No Child Left Behind act, more school districts have been labeled as “failing” each year as standards increase 7.5 percent annually. In 2014, districts are expected to hit 100 percent proficiency – a benchmark President Barack Obama has waived for more than half the states, but not Illinois.
Roughly 82 percent of the state’s 865 school districts failed to make AYP under student-achievement standards last year when the goal was at 85 percent.
Despite the failure designation, District 47 has performed well compared to area districts. In 2012, the district had the second-highest area average on the ISAT in math (93.6 percent) and a leading average in reading (88.9 percent).
Starting in the 2014-15 school year, ISAT will be replaced with the Partnership for Assessment of College and Careers exam. AYP standards will end, but Common Core standards will be more rigorous.
Some of the more difficult testing already was phased in during the 2013 ISAT, Bevevino said. State estimates show District 47’s scores in the high 80 and low 90 percentiles would be in the mid-70 percentile under the standards.
With so many changes expected in standardized testing in the next few years, Bevevino said it would be difficult to track a true trend.
“It’s going to be pretty difficult for us to show trend data in these next few years,” she said of the changes. “We’re committed to ensuring our students and our teachers are prepared for the challenges ahead.”