Friday, November 2, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 7:14 p.m.
The 2018 Illinois Report Card released on Oct. 30 by the Illinois State Board of Education features a new system that separates public schools throughout the state into four tiers — lowest-performing, underperforming, commendable and exemplary.
The overwhelming majority of elementary, middle schools and high schools in Bellwood District 88, Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview District 89, Lindop District 92 and Proviso Township High Schools District 209 were rated commendable.
Only two schools in those districts were designated lower than commendable. Lincoln Elementary in D88 and Proviso East High School in D209 were rated underperforming and lowest-performing, respectively.
Each designation is based on 10 weighted measures of student performance, which are different for grade schools and high schools.
In grade schools (pre-K through eighth grade), measures include chronic absenteeism (weighted 10 percent); performance on various standardized test scores and evaluations, including PARCC (worth a combined total weight of more than 40 percent); and academic growth (50 percent).
In high school, measures include chronic absenteeism (7.5 percent); college and career readiness (6.25 percent); performance on various standardized test scores and evaluations, including the SAT (worth a combined total weight of more than 40 percent);
An exemplary school is one “that has no student demographic groups performing at or below the level of the ‘all students’ group in the lowest 5 percent of all schools, a graduation rate greater than 67 percent, and whose performance is in the top 10 percent of schools statewide,” according to ISBE.
A commendable school has most of the characteristics of an exemplary school, but “whose performance is not in the top 10 percent of schools statewide.”
An underperforming school has at least one student demographic group that performs at or below “the level of the ‘all students’ group in the lowest 5 percent of all schools.” And schools designated lowest-performing are the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in the state.
According to ISBE, around 70 percent of public schools in the state were designated commendable while 15 percent were designated underperforming on this year’s report card.
Underperforming and lowest-performing schools will undergo an improvement process that includes a needs assessment, additional federal funding and more state resources.
“The designations are facts, not judgments,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith in a statement released on Oct. 30.
“The purpose of the designation is to drive resources to the students in the greatest need,” he said. “No single data point can capture what makes a school great. We encourage schools to use the designation as a tool to communicate about strengths and challenges and to engage communities and stakeholders in the success of all students.”
In D209, Proviso West was designated commendable while Proviso Math an Science Academy was designated exemplary — the only school in the aforementioned four districts to receive that designation.
Officials in some of those districts issued statements following the release of the new state report card data.
“The new designations on the State Report Card present a positive trajectory earned through collective work demonstrating levels of success,” said D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez in a statement the district released on Nov. 1.
Rodriguez said that the district “welcomes the changes” in this year’s report card, but emphasized that the designations are “not a complete picture of our performance.”
He said that the district will use the report card data “in conjunction with our internal data to inform our continuous improvement efforts.”
In a letter sent to families on Oct. 31, D89 Supt. David Negron said that for “the first time ever, the state’s funding and accountability systems recognize that different schools in different communities need different supports to reach those same outcomes — just as each individual child needs different tools and encouragement to succeed.”
Negron cited the district’s updated curriculum resources, expanded bilingual programming, more robust after-school programming and a range of intervention programs, among other resources and opportunities that the district has provided students and teachers “to make [them] successful.”
Negron said that standardized test scores in math have nearly tripled and in reading have nearly doubled from 2015 to 2018. He said that in science, scores have more than doubled from 2016 to 2018.
For more detailed information on each school’s and/or district’s Report Card data, click here. For ISBE’s statement on the report card, click here. To see how underperforming and lowest-performing schools will benefit, click here. For more on the designations, click here. VFP
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