The District 204 PARCC assessment report showed high achievement levels when compared to state averages, but also showed a significant achievement gap within the district, specifically among African-American students.
Only 31 percent of those students scored as proficient in English Language Arts, with 25 percent meeting or exceeding standards in math. That’s compared to 60 percent of white and 76 percent of Asian students reporting proficiency in ELA and 57 percent of white and 82 percent of Asian students doing the same in math.
Parents Advocating for the Greater Enrichment of Students, better known as PAGES, voiced their concerns about the results at the most recent board meeting.
“When they were shared in the December meeting, it was indicated in the summary of them that they were ‘exemplary’. I think ‘stellar’ was another word that was used when it was presented. While almost 70 percent of African Americans are not proficient in ELA and 75 percent are not proficient in math. Exemplary? We are district 204, we expect to have better outcomes,” said Andrea Collier, Waubonsie Valley High School PAGES member.
Based on previous assessments like the ISAT and PSAE, this achievement gap has been present for several years, and has widened by 12 percent since 2010.
One of the district goals for the 2016-2017 school year is to reduce the student academic achievement gap in English and math by two to five percent, but PAGES wants to see firm plans from the district.
“The terms identification and evaluation denote first steps. When will you champion actionable programs and transparent measures that will result in African American students closing the achievement gap and being respected as on par with their Asian counterparts?” said Carla Julius, a Waubonsie Valley High School PAGES member.
No one was available for comment from the district at this time, but in December the board stated they’re focused on making sure they meet the needs of individual students.
The district plans to use the PARCC results for evaluation of district, school and grade level curricular and instructional strengths and weaknesses.
Naperville News 17’s Rachel Pierson reports.
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