Recess Blog

Researchers Analyze Test Scores

By Rob Schroeder
April 10, 2017

The 55 school districts that make up the Illinois Large Unit District Association (LUDA) share similar characteristics:  family income continues to be a crucial deteriminant of educational outcomes.

The Center for Urban Education Leadership is preparing reports for all 55 districts detailing what test score data says about district performances, in comparison with socioeconomic trends in the district.  The Center's Paul Zavitkovsky, PhD, leadership coach and assessment specialist, presented to the school board of Quincy Public Schools, outlining the school's progress despite challenging socioeconomic conditions in the district.

Paul Zavitkovsky presents test score findings to the Quincy School Board.

"We're running into a situation where we're seeing how devastating family income can be on a whole variety of factors that impacts what kids walk in the door with every day and that, of course, we have to respond to," said Paul Zavitokovsky, a leadership coach/assessment specialist with the center, to the Curriculum Committee on Monday night.

"At least a few districts, 15 to 20 percent of districts statewide, are beating these odds pretty dramatically. You in Quincy are beating those socioeconomic odds. Others are beating them by a bigger amount, but the fact of the matter is you are doing things right now that are helping you beat those odds."

Back in 2001, the report showed that 59 percent of Quincy students scored at or above statewide medians in composite math with a 39 percent low-income enrollment compared with 55 percent across central Illinois districts with an average 22 percent low-income enrollment.

By 2016, Quincy's low-income enrollment had climbed to 57 percent, with 45 percent of students scoring at or above statewide medians -- still higher than most districts with comparable low-income enrollments -- while central Illinois districts reported 43 percent low-income enrollments, with 49 percent of students scoring at or above statewide medians.

Achievement in central Illinois districts, those located between Interstate 80 and Interstate 70, often declined when compared to statewide norms when low-income enrollments increased, the report said.

Read the full story in the Quincy Herald-Whig.

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