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Illinois issues state, U-46 annual report card data

By Seth Hancock
  The Illinois State Board of Education released its annual report card, which is available at illinoisreportcard.com, and the majority of students across the state, as well as in School District U-46, are not ready for the next level according, to the results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam.
  Initial information on the report card was released at the end of October, but PARCC results were not released until December. Although only 32.2 percent of U-46 students met or exceeded expectations, compared to 32.9 percent for the state, U-46 CEO Tony Sanders was unfazed calling it “baseline data” as it was the first year of the test in his weekly message to staff on Dec. 10.
  “Overall, I’m proud of our performance,” Sanders wrote. “We held our own with 32.2 percent of students meeting or exceeding on this much more robust test, while the state average is 32.9 percent.”
  On the English and Language Arts portion of PARCC 36 percent of U-46 students and 38 percent of the state met or exceeded expectations, and both were at 28 percent for math.
  At the high school level, each district chose one grade level to be tested, and U-46 tested freshmen. Sanders said “we cannot compare these results” to previous exams, but previous years’ results also produced undesirable results in U-46 and across the state as only 55 percent of U-46 students and 58 percent of state students met or exceeded expectations the last two years according to composite results of all achievement exams.
  In January, the Board of Education will receive a presentation for “more context about the first year of PARCC results” Sanders said.
  When the initial data was released, Sanders lauded the district doing better than the state and claimed U-46 held its own on other measures because the district has 62 percent low income students and 27 percent English Language Learners among other factors in his Oct. 29 message.
  “We are doing incredible work here in one of the state’s most diverse districts despite our challenges of high pupil-to-teacher and pupil-to-administrator ratios, and higher than average class sizes,” Sanders wrote.
  U-46 exceeded the state in two measures, freshmen on track (85.2 percent compared to 83.4 percent) and eighth-graders who have passed algebra (33.5 percent to 28.4 percent). Not all eighth-graders take algebra.
  Both U-46 and the state had the same graduation rate, 86 percent, but the district was below the state average in all other measures, some significantly.
  Based on students who have taken the ACT exam and receiving a score of at least 21, only 39 percent of U-46 students are college ready compared to 46 percent for the state. Graduates enrolling in college within 12 months of graduation is 64 percent for U-46 and 70 percent for the state, and within 16 months of graduation 69 percent for U-46 and 73 percent for the state.
  A high number of students need to take remedial courses, which do not earn college credit, once they attend college with 60 percent of U-46 students and 49 percent of state students needing at least one remedial course. Math was the most needed with 51 percent from U-46 and 41 percent from the state.
  Down to the school level in U-46 the schools doing the best tend to have higher class sizes, most noticeably at the elementary level, despite the U-46 administration and some board members claiming the need to reduce class sizes.
  At the high school level, Bartlett had 28.2 percent of students ready for the next level with the student-teacher ratio of 22-1 while Larkin had 10.6 percent ready for the next level with a 17-1 ratio. South Elgin (25.6 percent, 21-1 ratio), Streamwood (20.6 percent, 18-1 ratio) and Elgin (11.6 percent, 19-1 ratio).
  At the middle school level, ratios were similar across schools. The top two were Bartlett’s Eastview (60.6 percent, 26-1) and South Elgin’s Kenyon Woods (49.4 percent, 26-1 ratio), and the bottom two were Elgin’s Ellis (20.3 percent, 25-1 ratio) and Abbott (24.1 percent, 26-1 ratio).
  At the elementary level the top 10 schools, all but three from Bartlett, had a 25.3-1 ratio compared to 24-1 for the bottom 10, all but two from Elgin. There were six schools above 50 percent ready for the next level, 10 in the 40s, five in the 30s, six in the 20s and 13 below 20.
  The top 10: Prairieview (58.7 percent, 24-1 ratio), Sycamore Trails (58.5 percent, 26-1 ratio), Wayne (53.8 percent, 28-1 ratio), Liberty (53 percent, 24-1 ratio), Centennial (52.1 percent, 25-1 ratio), Carol Stream’s Spring Trail (50.7 percent, 27-1 ratio), Hawk Hallow (49.7 percent, 25-1 ratio), Nature Ridge (48.3 percent, 24-1 ratio), Bartlett (47.6 percent, 25-1 ratio) and South Elgin’s Clinton (47.3 percent, 25-1 ratio).
  The bottom 10: Hanover Park’s Parkwood (18.5 percent, 20-1 ratio), Century Oaks (17.4 percent, 23-1 ratio), Lords Park (17.4 percent, 23-1 ratio), Harriet Gifford (16.8 percent, 19-1 ratio), Hillcrest (16.4 percent, 25-1 ratio), Garfield (15.5 percent, 17-1 ratio), Hanover Park’s Ontarioville (14.8 percent, 23-1 ratio), Lowrie (14.7 percent, 22-1 ratio), Channing Memorial (13.1 percent, 23-1 ratio) and Huff (12.2 percent, 22-1 ratio).

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