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Majority of RPS schools show reading growth on state tests


​​​​A majority of Rockford Public Schools show an early trend in higher reading scores, year over year, on annual state tests. Twenty-three schools, or 59 percent, show a cumulative positive growth trend in the past two years. RPS today released information from the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (given to third through eighth graders) and Prairie State Achievement Exam (given to juniors). Results from the past two years have been normed with new, more rigorous cut scores this year for an apples-to-apples comparison. (Charter schools are excluded from this summary.)

Highlights from those results:

  • Twenty-six schools showed growth or sustained achievement in reading on the 2013 test, compared to 2012. Eighteen schools showed growth or sustained achievement in math on the 2013 test, compared to 2012.
  • All four high schools saw consistent growth year over year (2011 to ’12 and 2012 to ’13) in reading. From the 2012 to 2013 tests, Auburn and Guilford each showed growth in math.
  • Eleven schools had consistent growth for at least two straight years in reading, year over year, from 2011 to 2012, and again from 2012 compared to the 2013 ISAT: Barbour, Carlson, Nelson, Marsh, McIntosh, Welsh, Hillman, Walker, Whitehead, Nashold and West.
  • Students at 11 schools met or exceeded standards in both reading and math in 2013 compared to the 2012 ISAT: Barbour, Carlson, Nelson, King, Marsh, McIntosh, Spring Creek, Whitehead and Nashold elementary schools, and Eisenhower and West middle schools.

​“We’re looking forward to analyzing the results further,” said Deputy Superintendent Matt Vosberg. “We have pockets of success within our district, and we’re working hard to have more consistency throughout the district. In the past few years, we have engaged in many initiatives that provide more enrichment for our highest achieving students, and more interventions for our students who need more assistance. Long term, we will see results because of these investments.” The Illinois State Board of Education adopted new Common Core Learning Standards in 2010, meaning instruction will go deeper into core, foundational concepts. Students will be required to not only have knowledge, but apply that knowledge in real-world situations. The expectations grew for the 2013 test; RPS released those results today. A new type of assessment, called the PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, will be given to students in the 2014-15 school year.

While we celebrate school gains, remember that growth year over year in the accompanying chart doesn’t accurately measure a student or a school’s growth, as it measures last year’s students against the same grade-level students the year before. With the state’s move to the PARCC assessments, district leaders can better measure and track student and class growth throughout the school year, Vosberg added.