Website offers wealth of information on test scores

By on January 30, 2009

by Lynn Meredith
Say you want to know how Kaneland compares to other schools in the vicinity, or you want to see the trend of ISAT test scores for the last 10 years. Say you’re curious about how certain subgroups fare compared to all students. Head to Illinois Interactive Report Card website to get answers to all your questions.

All of the above features are available for the community to view at niu.edu. Parents and community members can see the results of tests, learn the demographics of the district and view student and staff data.

Educators will use this new tool to see how well individual schools and the district is doing. They can also access individual student data through a secured area.

“You can start (your search) at the district and then drill down to school and then to grade,” Kaneland Curriculum Director Sarah Mumm said. “You can compare districts by 25 different descriptors, such as average teacher experience, how many bachelor’s degrees versus master’s degrees, the level of ISAT performance.”

Mumm cautions that what the site labels Average Yearly Progress (AYP) subgroups, such as Asian, are not defined the same way as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) defines its AYP subgroups. This site determines that 10 students constitute a subgroup. The NCLB defines a subgroup as having 45 students. The distinction is that the NCLB requires a district to be accountable for the performance of its subgroups.

“Kaneland currently has no subgroups in any category for the purposes of AYP accountability,” Mumm said.

For example, the site shows that Kaneland has an Asian subgroup, but if you look at the numbers, the group is made up of only 11 students, not enough to fall under NCLB consideration.

Through scatter plot graphing, educators are able to compare Kaneland based on what percentage of students meet and exceed AYP standards. They can then narrow the search to low-income students. By comparing how Kaneland’s low-income students score with other districts with similar percentages of low-income students, educators can use that information to develop the curriculum.

“We can look at districts that are similar to ours (in terms of numbers of low-income students) but are doing one thing differently that we can look at,” Assistant Director of Curriculum Erika Schlichter said.

Tracking the trends becomes easier with this tool. Educators can track a given class through the years. They can look at one subject like reading and see all grade levels’ performance.

Mumm encourages parents and the community to get on the site and explore its features.

“The more you dig in, the more excited you’ll get and the more you will learn,” Mumm said.