BLOOMINGTON — Administrators at Twin City public schools are mostly pleased with Illinois Report Card data, but want to improve rates for college readiness and graduation.
The Illinois State Board of Education provides statistics for each district including academic standing, student demographics and average test scores for SAT and PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests.
“In almost all measures, we’ve performed a little higher than we did last year,” said Ray Epperson, McLean County Unit 5 deputy superintendent. “Also in almost everything, we’re pretty consistently a little above the state averages.”
Cindy Helmers, District 87 assistant superintendent for curriculum, said the Bloomington district “somewhat mirrors the state” in student demographics.
“So, it also tends to mirror the state average in terms of academic performance,” said Helmers.
The test acts as a college entrance exam and an assessment for high school math and English language arts.
At Unit 5, 46 percent of tested students were proficient (meeting or exceeding standards) in the SAT. District 87 students were 43 percent proficient. Both districts scored above the state average of 38 percent.
“This is the first year we’ve had SAT results, so those are baseline statistics. We’ll see where that data trends over the next couple of years,” said Epperson.
State performance remained steady for the PARCC test, showing 38 percent of students ready for the next grade level. PARCC is given to students in third- through eighth-grade.
PARCC data for Unit 5 showed 41 percent of students were ready for the next level and District 87 students were 26 percent ready.
“We continue to want to increase our scores, not just in (English language arts) and math, but in all areas,” said Helmers. “We always want to improve the opportunities for students based on this data."
Helmers said the district combines the broad data from the state board with individual assessments to boost student academics.
“One piece of data shouldn’t be the driving force for any decision. Schools should look at all their measures and the individual needs of students. The individual data is much more vital to us,” said Helmers. “We will continue to work on our vision to create really good instructional environments for our students that support academic rigor.”
Overall, state high school graduation rates increased from 85.5 percent to 87 percent.
Twin City graduation rates also increased: District 87 grew from 82 percent to 86 percent and Unit 5 rose from 89 percent to 92 percent.
“Our graduation rate is really good, but you could also look at it and notice 8 percent of our students aren’t graduating. When you think of it in that regard, we need to be doing something more,” said Epperson. “Whether it’s new programs to meet the needs of students or examining what has worked in the past, the graduation rate is one we constantly look at because that’s the culminating event in a high school career."
To view individual data for state districts and schools, visit www.IllinoisReportCard.com.