It’s not a surprise to administrators in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 that scores on the 2013 Illinois State Achievement Test dropped from previous years.
And because of that drop and a higher state standard to make the cut, District 181 as a whole, and five of the nine schools in the district, failed to make adequate yearly progress, which is part of the No Child Left Behind Act.
“Our students are still learning at the highest levels,” District 181 Superintendent Renee Schuster said. “With the NCLB law eventually requiring 100 percent of students in all subgroups to meet the increasingly rigorous state standards, most, if not all, school districts will fail to meet AYP.”
Elm, Madison, Monroe, Oak and The Lane all made adequate yearly progress for 2013 testing; Clarendon Hills Middle School, Hinsdale Middle School, Prospect and Walker did not.
In order to make adequate yearly progress on the spring 2013 ISAT, 92.5 percent of tested students needed to meet or exceed state standards, up from 85 percent in 2012. There were some state exceptions to the 92.5 standard for subgroups of students.
The drop in test scores was expected because the ISAT given during the 2012-13 school year was changed by the state to reflect 20 percent of the new state learning standards, which incorporate the Common Core, along with 80 percent of existing Illinois state standards. And the District 181 curriculum has yet to be 100 percent aligned to the new standard, which is to be implemented in full for the 2014-15 school year.
Also, the state raised the bar for the success level needed to meet or exceed standards on 2013 testing. And it’s the percentage of students meeting or exceeding those standards that determines whether a school or district makes adequate yearly progress.
Parents/guardians of District 181 students received individual test results Sept. 4; complete state school report cards, which include test scores, are scheduled to be released in October.
The 2013-14 school year marks the last time students will take the ISAT. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments will replace the ISAT in 2014-15.
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a consortium of states working together to develop the common set of kindergarten through 12th-grade assessments in English and math anchored in the Common Core State Standards, according to information from District 181.
“The new performance levels align the ISAT with the more rigorous Common Core State Standards,” Schuster said.
District 181 has been preparing for the movement toward Common Core for the last several years. This has been done through revisions to the curriculum, strengthened professional development and changes to materials such as textbooks and online resources.
“We recognized that the Common Core State Standards and changes to the state’s standardized testing would require a new bar for students to meet,” Schuster said. “We have been at the ceiling for student performance in Illinois for many years. Now, with the Common Core, we have a new ceiling and a new national level focus.”