Early report card data is a mixed bag

Preliminary data from the Illinois School Report Card reveals that Hinsdale Central’s graduation rate remains high while the school’s SAT scores have slipped.

The report card was released Oct. 29 with limited information, including the rate of ninth-graders who are on track to graduate. At Central, 99 percent of ninth-graders are on track to graduate, which means they have earned at least five full-year course credits (10 semester credits) and have earned no more than one semester “F” in a core course (English, math, science or social science). Central’s percentage has ranged from 97 to 99 percent since 2017. Central’s graduation rate is listed on the report card as 91.6 percent.

That percentage, however, does not include students who move to the Transition Center after their senior year, said Chris Covino, Hinsdale High School District 86 assistant superintendent for academics, during a presentation at the Oct. 28 board meeting. When those students are taken into account, the rate increases to 96.9 percent.

Covino also presented preliminary data on SAT scores. At Central, total scores dropped 15 points, from 1,223 to 1,208 from April of 2019 to April of 2021. In December, additional SAT and college and career ready data will be released, and the final state report card release will be in April of 2022.

In a statement, the Illinois State Board of Education cited “the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of access to in-person learning on student achievement, enrollment and attendance” as factors in cases where performance fell below previous years.

“The data reveal higher rates of chronic absenteeism, lower rates of ninth graders on track to graduate, and steep declines in students across grade levels attaining proficiency in math and English language arts,” the ISBE commented.

State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said despite the challenges, students and educators also showed admirable perseverance to continue the learning process.

“We have witnessed both tragedy and heroism in our schools over the past year,” Ayala said. “Students and educators have lost so much and lived and learned through unthinkable obstacles, but loss is not the whole story. Illinois’ schools also stepped up the rigor of high school coursework, ensured students still graduated and earned early college credit along the way.

“We know we have a steep road ahead of us to help students regain skills in math and reading, and we are confident that we have the funding, supports and talent in our schools to climb that hill.”

— Pamela Lannom

contributed to this story.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean