ROCKFORD (WIFR) – We’re beginning to get a glimpse of how District 205 students performed on state tests last school year and the results are mixed.
However, both the district and some former teachers say the scores aren’t exactly accurate.
Students are constantly preparing for tests in school. Reading and math scores from the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) show some of that prep work is paying off.
Over the past two years, 28 out of 42schools in Rockford saw the same test scores or growth in reading.
“We’ve really been excited about the growth model that we’ve had at our high schools. There’s been a lot of community emphasis on improving the high school delivery model,” said Dan Woestman, Assistant Superintendent of Accountability.
However, when it comes to math, more schools saw a decline. 23 of them got lower scores with Haskell, Ellis, and Kennedy seeing some of the largest overall drops.
“I’m really sad because now they’re marked and instead of looking at them as a school, people think “Oh, I wouldn’t send my child there because look how they don’t perform.”
Former teacher Barb Oehlke used to prepare kids for these state tests but she knows not all students do well on timed, formatted tests.
Jane Hayes who taught for 26 years agrees. She says the ISATs and PSAEs reduce a student’s true potential.
“Whenever teachers and students are prompted too much, it takes away from reflective, creative, and critical thinking. This is not teaching to the whole child,” Hayes said.
The district also admits these scores don’t accurately measure growth since they’re not measuring the same students year over year. Just the same grade levels. They hope to change that with a new state assessment that will be given to students in the 2014-2015 school year.
West Middle School as well as Galapagos and Legacy Charter Schools saw major improvement in reading. For those schools that saw lower scores, the district says it will focus on adding more qualified staff and resources to those buildings.
You can read the full test score report and a release from the school district in the attachments below.