Student testing shows 'fantastic' growth in D181

Recent assessment data on reading and math achievement indicates students in Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 are on a positive performance trajectory following the challenging COVID-impacted years.

Results from Winter MAP testing in January shows that 76.1 percent of students were able to meet or exceed the benchmark 69th percentile in reading, Tracey Miller, director of assessment, instruction and evaluation, told board members at Monday night’s meeting. The figure was even better in math, with 80.1 percent meeting/exceeding.

“That is our highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding the 69th percentile in the past three years that we’ve administered the assessment in math. And we are right in the top 2 for our reading scores,” Miller said. “We are very excited about overall performance,”

In reading, all grade levels except eighth improved their scores from the fall MAP testing. Grades two and four had the best showing, with 81.3 percent of second-graders and 80 percent of fourth-graders meeting or exceeding the 69th percentile.

“That (80 percent mark) is a consistent part of our school improvement planning process, so to have grade levels already exceeding those numbers is really, really exciting for us,” Miller said.

In math, grades three and four had posted impressive fall meeting/exceeding scores of 84.3 percent and 88.9 percent, respectively. While unable to repeat those performances, Miller said their winter scores of 82.6 and 82.9 are to be celebrated.

“They’re certainly above the 80 percent, which is a really, really fantastic number of students meeting that benchmark,” she said.

Second grade went from 80.4 percent to 85.9 percent, and eighth grade ticked up to 74.8 percent from 73.5.

“We did not see that (eighth-grade decrease in reading) follow through in math. They did increase as a grade level from fall to winter,” she said.

At the building level, every school saw a percentage increase in reading results. The Lane led the way with 81.9 percent meeting/exceeding, followed by Prospect at 80.4 percent, and Madison and Monroe both at 78.3 percent.

In math, eight of the nine district schools showed growth, with Prospect, Oak, Elm and The Lane performing especially well. Madison dipped slightly to 79.8 percent from its 81.2 percent fall figure.

An analysis of individual growth showed that all but two grades — one at The Lane and one at Clarendon Hills Middle School — met the 50 percent meeting/exceeding target in reading. That’s a welcome development from last fall, when every school had at least one cohort of students falling short of the mark, Miller said.

“Reading has been our area of focus for the district this year,” Miller said. “To be able to pull fall to winter data that shows growth is really exciting.”

An examination of grade cohorts over the course of their school careers showed that most are exceeding the three- and four-year target averages in math and reading.

“There’s a lot of stability in terms of where are students are performing,” she said. “We’re super-excited by the trends.”

Superintendent Hector Garcia praised both students and staff for their hard work, while board member Grace Shin expressed her appreciation.

“It is wonderful to see,” Shin said.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean