Students at every Flossmoor District 161 school showed academic improvement on this year’s state mandated Illinois Standard Achievement Test.
Overall, this year’s ISAT scores show District 161 students moving from the lower half of the state’s school systems in 2013 to the upper 45 percent, said Dr. Clay Graham, an education consultant and statistician. He presented an analysis of the ISAT results to District 161 Board of Education members at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.
District 161 showed significant progress on the state tests, with reading and math scores demonstrating strong academic growth, Graham said. Science scores, however, are lagging behind – District 161 students scored in the bottom third among Illinois schools.
On the whole, he said, District 161’s statewide academic ranking improved from 397 last year to 333 in 2014. Illinois has approximately 780 school districts.
Graham also said District 161’s value as a school system is getting stronger. Among 44 benchmarked school systems across the state – chosen on the basis of academics, geographic proximity, demographics, and student population – District 161 ranks close to the top in terms of academic performance vis a vis costs per student.
This year’s ISAT test measured student performance for reading and math in third through eighth grades. Science was measured for fourth and seventh graders.
District 161 students this year showed reading improvement in four of six grades and math improvement in five grades. That is nearly a reversal of the 2013 ISAT scores, which showed reading and math improvement from the previous year in just one grade, and decline in most others.
Every school in District 161 showed an increase in state rankings for reading and math over last year’s numbers, Graham said. Some of those rankings point to high performance levels. Western Avenue School fifth grade numbers resulted in a rank of 137th (out of 2,022 statewide schools) in reading and 242nd in math.
The ISAT scores by grade showed some fluctuation, Graham said. District 161 third graders tested in the state’s top 37 percent, fifth graders in the top 40 percent, and sixth graders in the top one-third. But fourth graders ranked in the lower half and eighth graders in the lower 42 percent.
This was the first year that questions from the Common Core curriculum were used on the ISAT, Graham said. In the future, all questions on the test will come from the Common Core.
Contact Tom Houlihan at [email protected]