Throwing Out Test Scores

By: Joe Hamilton
By: Joe Hamilton

On Saturday, 23 News told you how the State of Illinois is throwing out thousands of tests scores for schools across the state because of irregularities. These test scores determine if a school meets academic standards under the federally mandated “No Child Left Behind” act. But now, 23 News has learned that the Rockford School District is going to appeal the validity of all of their school report cards due to another irregularity.

The problem is that the numbers just don't add up. When the state sent individual districts their academic report cards a few weeks ago, there were a number of errors associated with them. Take Kishwaukee Elementary School here in Rockford for example. The state data shows that out of 82 children, both male and female, from the grades that took the test, 1.2 % of the tests scores were not averaged in with the rest of the schools. Now their are a number of reasons why a test would be excluded, like if it wasn't completed or if it wasn't completed properly.

Out of those 82 kids, 81 are considered to be economically disadvantaged. But where the problem lies is when you look at the numbers. How can 22 % of those children be excluded, when the state also says that 1.2 % of 82 kids were excluded. If don't follow neither the Rockford School District, they say that is mathematically impossible.

Lisa Mehlig with the District 205 Research and Development Department says that there are so many errors with the information they received. The district is now going to appeal all of the test scores at all of the schools. Mehlig told 23 News "if there are errors with some of them, then there is a good chance that there are errors with all of them.”

If by appealing this data the state finds that some of these kids did take these math and reading skills tests, the schools report cards will change. That could possibly affect some of the schools on the academic warning list. Now Rockford isn't alone, right now the State Board of Education is reviewing the information sent to more than 450 schools across the state that they know is wrong. That includes six schools in Rockford.

With this new information, the state has thrown out more than 80,000 tests out due to problems. It could be a long time before we really know how each school is really performing.


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