Deerfield Public Schools District 109 saw its overall test scores slip ever so slightly from last year compared to the year before, but they still far outpace a majority of schools within the state and hold their own against other north suburban communities.
According to the data provided by the Illinois State Board of Education, District 109 had a 96.0 score in the Illinois Standard Achievement Tests (ISAT) in 2011-12, compared to 82.1 for the state.
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The local score represents a slight reduction from the 96.6 tally achieved the year before. In other words, 96.0 percent of District 109 students met or exceeded Illinois standards in the combination of reading, math and science.
In comparison to other area schools, only Lake Forest District District 67 had a higher score at 96.10, whereas Northbrook District 28 had a 95.80 and North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park and Highwood had a 90.80.
“Overall, District 109 students did very well on the ISAT,” District 109 spokesperon Cathy Kedjidjian said. “However, ISAT is only one measure that we use to assess student growth and determine how we can improve as a District, and how we can help every individual student grow and learn. We have a robust set of assessments that allow us to measure individual student growth, cohort growth and District growth.”
One particular area where the schools seem to be doing well is in reading and math at the third grade level where most of the students are exceeding standards, according to Kedjidjian.
South Park Rings Bell a Second Time
One specific highlight is the second consecutive fourth grade class at South Park Elementary School is in the 100.00 percentile in math. Last year that same lofty 100.00 mark was also achieved for fourth graders in science at South Park.
Over at Walden Elementary School, third grade students are also achieving that 100.00 percentile for reading and math with that school’s fifth grade also getting that same impressive 100.00 for math.
But there were some disappointments as the third grade reading score at Kipling Elementary School went from 95.2 to 89.0 from the previous year to the next.
Similarly at Wilmot Elementary School, fifth grade reading went from 98.0 to 91.8 over the course of one year.
“While our "meets/exceeds" percentage remains very high, we would like to improve our percentage of students remaining in the highest ‘exceeds’ category,” Kedjidjian said. “To achieve that goal, our professional development will focus on Common Core expectations, as they will be the concepts that are tested in the future.”
Federal Standards Are Not Met
Another area of concern is the inability to make Annual Yearly Progress as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. In a draconian example, the state could take over a school district if officials in Springfield did not believe the local school board was doing enough to educate their students.
That is not highly likely to be the case at District 109. Moreover, the reason the District did not make AYP because one small subgroup did not make their marks and every subgroup must pass for the district to make AYP.
“District 109 – like most every other school district in the state – anticipated that, as we move toward the requirement by law of 100 percent of students meeting/exceeding standards by 2014, that our special education subgroups would not make the AYP cutoff. This year, Caruso's special education sub group missed AYP in reading by a fraction of a percent,” Kedjidjian said.