Valley View Fails to Make AYP, Sees Some Improvements
Valley View School District Superintendent James Mitchem says students are "are far more capable than scores may show.”
Valley View students failed to make adequate yearly progress on this year’s ISAT tests, according to information released by the state Monday.
But the district’s state report card does show signs of improvement—if you know where to look.
Valley View scores, which remained about flat this year, still rate behind state averages. But gains have been made on a grade-by-grade basis, administrators say.
According to the Illinois State Report Card, 72.3 percent of Valley View students met or exceeded Illinois learning standards on the Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT). That’s below the statewide average of 76.5 percent and slightly below last year’s district mark of 72.8 percent.
Under guidelines set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act, 85 percent of students must be proficient in reading and math by 2011, and 100 percent of students must be proficient by 2014.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is a key measuring stick in the federal legislation.
Valley View Superintendent James Mitchem said the state report card should be looked at as a “snapshot of achievement based on multiple years of instruction.”
“Most people will look at the scores based on previous years,” Mitchem said. “But a more accurate way to look at it would be by looking at cohorts of kids—by asking if last year’s third-graders, fourth-graders and fifth-graders are faring better.”
With that in mind, the percentage of Valley View elementary students meeting or exceeding state standards showed gains over the previous year.
- 3rd-grade scores improved by 6.9 percent in reading and 3.7 percent in math.
- 4th graders improved slightly in reading and dropped less than a percentage point in math.
- 5th graders posted gains in both reading and math.
- 6th graders improved in reading (79.8 percent met or exceeded expectations), but dropped from two percentage points.
- Valley View 7th- and 8th-grade scores fell below state averages
Measuring student achievement at the high school level
Each spring, high school juniors take the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE), which measures the achievement of students in reading, math and science.
The state report card classifies student scores into four levels: academic warning; below standards; meets standards; or exceeds standards.
- 10.4 percent of Valley View high school juniors are in academic warning (10.1 percent statewide);
- 47.1 percent are below standards (38.9 percent state);
- 36.7 percent meet standards (40.7 percent state);
- 5.7 percent exceed standards (10.4 percent state).
- 12.3 percent are in academic warning (10 percent state);
- 47.8 percent are below standards (38.7 percent state);
- 35.9 percent meet standards (43.1 percent state);
- 4 percent exceed standards (8.2 percent state).
- 8.8 percent are in academic warning (8.6 percent state);
- 52.4 percent are below standards (42.2 percent state);
- 34.5 percent meet standards (39.8 percent state);
- 4.3 percent exceeds standards (9.6 percent state).
Are changes coming for No Child Left Behind?
Recent news reports have hinted about upcoming changes in the federal No Child Left Behind Act or even state waivers that would exempt some Illinois schools from certain provisions of the legislation.
“No Child Left Behind has increased accountability,” Mitchem said. “But the problem, perhaps even the fatal flaw, is that it operates under the premise that all kids enter the system at the same place. It’s not a true indicator of whether a district is successful or not. Our kids are far more capable than scores may show.”