District 203 Academic Assessment Questioned

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District 203 recently reviewed the 2018 end of the year academic assessment, known as the Performance Series assessment

“This assessment measures achievement, which is defined as the proportion or percentage of students at or above the national 50th percentile rank. This assessment also measures growth predicted based on each student’s performance in the fall,” explained Patrick Nolten, the assistant superintendent for assessment at District 203.

Although improved growth and achievement in mathematics and reading was clear amongst almost all grade levels and student groups, some showed more stable or variable results.

Some cause for concern was visible in second grade reading and math, in eighth grade math, and within the African American/black student population.

“In our groups where we’re really hoping to see increased growth and achievement, it’s more disappointing,” said Board President Kristen Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald also questioned if there was a better way to assess student growth and performance and others agreed.

“We just need to know growth relative to proficiency and that’s the piece that unfortunately we don’t have at this point,” added Nolten. “We want a measure that we can have confidence in that tells us, predicts with likelihood, whether or not a student is on track or proficient […] Whether that’s PARCC, an advisement to PARCC, or maybe even the SAT.”

The district had issued a request for a new testing company, which could potentially be chosen by January. That new assessment wouldn’t come into effect until the 2019-2020 school year.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.