District 203 is Making the Grade

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The PARCC results are in and District 203 had high marks.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers measured the performance of the 2016-2017 school year for third through eighth graders.

Seventy percent and 63 percent of District 203 students met or exceeded standards in English and math. Whereas the average in Illinois was 37 percent and 31 percent in those subjects respectively.

“We’ve seen increases in both ELA and Mathematics, and we’re, I think, most proud of performance of our student groups that are at risk. We’ve seen gains in English, language arts, literacy, and mathematics among students with economic need, students with special education needs, and students that are learning English as well,” said Patrick Nolten, the assistant superintendent for assessment and accountability for District 203.

Though the scores were high, the District 203 board has some problems with the length of the test and the information it gives.

“That is a chief complaint- it’s a lot of time for the students, a lot of stress for the students,” said Terry Fielden, a District 203 board member. “If it’s not giving us the full metrics of what we need, there’s nothing wrong with saying that it doesn’t really fulfill our needs or giving us everything that we need to know.”

The board may get a fuller picture of student performance when ESSA, or Every Student Succeeds Act, begins next year. That initiative puts more emphasis on student growth.

“Fifty percent of how ESSA sort of conceptualizes accountability is growth,” said Nolten. “So there’s going to be a process into the future in which at the school level and at the district level there will be data that supports whether students are making adequate, more than adequate, or inadequate growth progress.”

The state of Illinois is only one of eight states that use PARCC to asses the standards and readiness of students.

District 203 also ranked in the 78th percentile nationally on the sat.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.