The numbers are out for Adequate Yearly Progress for the Class of 2013 in Bremen High School District 228, and like other high school districts in the state, D228 didn't measure up.
But the results didn't surprise district administrators, who say this way of evaluating students is stacked against schools.
“The system that we're working in is absurd,” said Supt. Bill Kendall. “You're doing the best you can in an absurd system, but you're set up for failure, really. I hate to say that.”
The data shows that district-wide, only 40.7 percent of students in reading and 41 percent of students in math met state standards for the year; the standards were set at 85 percent of students meeting state-set scores.
District students are expected to meet 100 percent of state-set scores by 2014, according to AYP planning.
“Nobody met 85 percent, nobody is going to meet 90 percent, and nobody is going to meet 100,” said Assistant Supt. of Teaching and Learning Corinne Williams. “The intent is good, to make sure that we're pushing all kids. But when you're using a test [the ACT], it's a college entrance test designed to sort and separate. … They're getting the same results year after year.”
“It's very frustrating, because you constantly get pressure from the state,” Williams added. “'You're not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress. Now you're in corrective action. Now you're in restructuring. Every time you turn around, there's a different mandate, based on how we're doing on tests.”
Kendall and Williams both said students' progress is in line with the district's own goals, with student test scores improving yearly and students continuing to graduate on time, many moving on to post-secondary education and jobs.
“We're preparing our kids for post-secondary, whatever that may be,” Williams said.
The administrators pointed to the district's graduation rates, which have hovered around 90 percent from 2007 to 2010—with 2011 rates dropping to 81 percent because of a reclassification in how special education students are classified at graduation time—as proof that the district is providing students with a strong education.
“We're doing things,” Williams said. “We're helping our kids achieve.”
The following is a breakdown of D228 subgroups, as a district and at Oak Forest and Tinley Park high schools. Subgroups are groups of 45 students or more who fall into a specific demographic, based on race, income, special needs, English proficiency and other variables.
Bremen District 228
ReadingSubgroups District Score % AYP Score % Met AYP All 40.7 85 No White 56.4 85 No Black 28.4 85 No Hispanic 32.7 85 No Students with Disabilities 24.4 85 No Economically Disadvantaged 31.5 85 No
Subgroups District Score % AYP Score % Met AYP All 41 85 No White 59.4 85 No Black 25.1 85 No Hispanic 32.9 85 No Students with Disabilities 23.8 85 No Economically Disadvantaged 29.1 85 No
Oak Forest High School
ReadingSubgroup Score % AYP % Met AYP All 50.3 85 No White 53.7 85 No Hispanic 45 85 No Economically Disadvantaged 45.3 85 Yes*
MathSubgroup Score % AYP % Met AYP All 52.7 85 No White 58.7 85 No Hispanic 42.6 85 No Economically Disadvantaged 43.1 85 Yes*
Tinley Park High School
ReadingSubgroup Score % AYP % Met AYP All 50.7 85 No White 64.8 85 Yes* Black 28.9 85 No Hispanic N/A 85 N/A Economically Disadvantaged 34.6
85 No Students With Disabilities 33.9 85 Yes
MathSubroup Score % AYP % Met AYP All 51.9 85 No White 67.9 85 Yes Black 25.6 85 No Hispanic N/A N/A N/A Economically Disadvantaged 38.3 85 No
Students With Disabilities 33.9 85 Yes
SOURCE: Bremen High School District 228
*Indicates that this subgroup of students did not meet AYP with its scores, but did meet Safe harbor status. Safe harbor allows a subgroup to meet minimum targets on achievement, so long as the it has existed for two consecutive years. To make safe harbor, the group must decrease by at least 10 percent in the percentage of students who did not meet standards the previous year.