Naperville schools still making the grade
By Susan Frick Carlman firstname.lastname@example.org October 31, 2012 12:04AM
A teacher helps prepare students for taking the ACT exam. | Sun-Times Media File
Head of the Class
Here are the top five performing schools from Districts 203 and 204. The numbers show the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards on all state tests in 2011-12:
White Eagle 96.3
Spring Brook and Peterson (tie) 95.7
Middle and junior high
Gregory Middle School 96.6
Crone Middle School 96.0
Kennedy Junior High School 95.6
Scullen Middle School 95.3
Madison Junior High School 94.2
Neuqua Valley 82.8
Naperville Central 80.6
Naperville North 77.5
Metea Valley 72.1
Waubonsie Valley 64.6
Updated: December 1, 2012 4:36PM
Students in Naperville schools continue to do better than average in the classroom, according to figures released Wednesday by the Illinois State Board of Education. It’s possible, however, that they are victims of their own success.
Academic data gathered during the 2011-12 school year showed 90.7 percent of the students in District 203 met or exceeded Illinois goals, as gauged through tests administered statewide each year. The proportion, which was unchanged from the 2011 district report card, outstripped the state average by 14 percentage points.
Stipulations put in place by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 require states to establish annual achievement targets and then measure students’ progress in each public school and district. The objective is for students to show consistent improvement, so that all meet or exceed standards in reading and math by 2014.
Overall, the change from 2011 is minimal in Naperville schools.
For most of the junior high schools in District 203, the proportion of students meeting the state goals fluctuated no more than one-half percentage point in the past year; in all five buildings, fewer than one in ten students fell short. At Kennedy Junior High, the 95.6 percent who made the grade in the new figures represented 0.8 percentage points fewer students than the previous year. Lincoln also saw a dip, while students at Washington and Jefferson showed slight improvement in their scores, and Madison held steady at 94.2 percent.
Officials in Indian Prairie District 204 held a briefing last week that took a look at the yearly test score data spotlighted in the state report cards for its 31 schools. Among other signs of improvement, more than 93 percent of the students in Indian Prairie met the state standards for the Illinois Standards Achievement tests in reading, math and science — a slight uptick over the previous year.
In District 203, scrutiny of the numbers is scheduled for Monday, ahead of the Board of Education meeting. A press conference in the afternoon will go over the report card data before “the full detail” is provided to the board, district spokeswoman Susan Rice said.
“We feel this is the best way to provide accurate, complete information to the community,” Rice said in an email.
Attempts to reach administrators and board members for elaboration were unsuccessful.
Addressing district-wide performances as well as individual schools and test scores recorded for selected grade levels, the annual state report cards can fill a dozen or more pages with information that is often confusing. Next year’s edition should show some improvement, though.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Tuesday that paves the way for streamlined versions of the yearly reports, which are expected to be available beginning in the 2013-14 school year. Featuring more readable graphics and narrowed-down data, the new format is part of an update to the school code enacted earlier this year by a bipartisan collection of sponsors that included House Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora.
Statewide, educators are looking forward to next year, as schools roll out curriculum and Illinois continues its appeal to the federal government for a waiver that would allow the state to drop No Child Left Behind standards.
“We are hopeful that this is the last year we report on AYP results and can instead offer data that paints a fuller picture of each student’s and school’s learning experience,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch in a press release.