, and District 86 as a whole failed to make adequate yearly progress toward the state’s No Child Left Behind goals for the second straight year, assistant superintendent for instruction Bruce Law told the board of education Monday night, but the administrator also pointed out positive numbers for students who spend their entire high school career in the district.
Adequate yearly progress (AYP) in 2012, according to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards, is attained by an Illinois school or district when 85 percent or more of its junior class as a whole, and 85 percent of every racial and socioeconomic subgroup of 45 or more students in that junior class, meet or exceed math and reading standards on the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE), which is administered each spring.
As a whole, more than 85 percent of Hinsdale Central students met or exceeded both the reading and math standards (86.6 percent in reading; 86.7 percent in math), according to Law’s report. However, the subgroup of students with disabilities at Hinsdale Central met or exceeded the reading standard at a 50 percent clip and the math standard at a 51.7 percent clip. Those percentages led to the school’s failing grade.
Hinsdale South’s student body as a whole failed to reach the 85 percent meeting/exceeding mark. Law said 75.6 percent of all Hinsdale South students met or exceeded the reading standard, and 74 percent of Hinsdale South students met or exceeded the math standard.
As a whole, District 86 did not make AYP in math or reading. Law’s report says 82.7 percent of all district students met or exceeded the standard in reading, and 82.8 percent did so in math.
Law said the district is not very concerned with its failure to meet AYP. He called AYP a “rearview-mirror look” that judges only the junior class and does not provide information on how a school or district should move forward.
“It’s a lag indicator. We’re looking for those leading indicators,” Law said, that tell the district when and where it needs to intervene with certain students.
Regarding Hinsdale Central’s failure to make AYP due to sub-standard percentages in the students-with-disabilities subgroup, Law said it’s challenging to meet the standard when every student in that subgroup likely has a different situation and should be judged on an individual basis.
Law said the district will not lose any sort of funding due to its AYP scores.
Superintendent Nick Wahl said more information will come with the October release of the district’s academic dashboard, which analyzes the most recent graduate class and tracks those students’ growth over all their years in District 86.
“In October, we’ll get the [academic] dashboard which is much more comprehensive,” Wahl said. “This is a snapshot of the juniors.”
Six board members were present Monday and none expressed an opinion of concern over the district's lack of AYP. Board member Dianne Barrett was not present. No community members spoke on the topic during public comment.
More Years in District a Benefit?
Despite the district’s failure to make AYP, Law emphasized the good Monday night with a set of related data that showed those students who had been in the district longer had shown better growth.
According to district calculations, a higher percentage of students who had taken the Explore test, which District 86 gives out to its future freshmen when they are in eighth grade, had met or exceeded the math and reading standards on the PSAE test.
Of the District 86 students who had met or exceeded the PSAE math standard as a junior, 91.4 percent had taken the Explore test as an eighth-grader, meaning they likely were freshmen in District 86. Meanwhile only 72.5 percent of the students who did not meet or exceed on the PSAE had taken the Explore test.
In reading, 90.4 percent of the meeting or exceeding students had taken the Explore, while only 75.5 percent of the not-meeting students had.
Wahl said the district doesn't mean to make transfer students into an excuse for not making AYP, but understanding of the needs of those students need to improve.
"Clearly the challenge is with students who are not with us for four years," the superintendent said.
AYP by Subgroup
The district’s white students, as a subgroup, made AYP, as did its Hispanic and Asian subgroups. Hispanic students made AYP based on that group’s “safe harbor target,” which adjusts the year’s AYP benchmark so that, in general, a 10-percent increase in the meets/exceeds rate over the prior year is adequate progress, even if it falls below the general standard of 85 percent.
For example, 68.6 percent of Hispanic students in District 86 met or exceeded the reading standard, but since the safe-harbor target was 66.1 percent based on last year’s meets/exceeds number (which one would assume was likely around 56.1 percent), the subgroup made AYP.
The district’s black students did not make AYP, with only 39.2 percent meeting or exceeding the reading standard and 25.5 percent meeting or exceeding the math standard.
The students-with-disabilities subgroup of the entire district failed to make AYP in math and reading (43.6 percent meets/exceeds in both subjects). The district’s economically disadvantaged students met AYP in reading via safe harbor (57.6 percent), but did not make AYP in math (43.5 percent).
Law said that regardless of whether AYP is still measured in the same way going forward—NCLB has plenty of critics these days who say benchmarks have become unreasonable—academic growth will always be District 86’s top priority.
“We’re not happy if even one student fails to meet or exceed standards,” Law said, “but with the growth model we’re learning more and more.”