7 of 11 schools reach targets
Barrington schools AYP
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:42AM
BARRINGTON — Seven out of the 11 Barrington School District 220 schools made Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to a 2011-2012 school report card released by the Illinois State Board of Education.
After reviewing the local report cards, Cindy Jaskowski, District 220’s assistant superintendant for educational progress and assessment, explained that a school that fails to meet certain AYP requirements should not necessarily be branded as a failing school.
The No Child Left Behind Act sets a bar for all students to reach regardless of their economic status, English proficiency or level of disability, Jaskowski said.
“We are very pleased with how our schools are performing,” Jaskowski said. “But there’s a lot of ways you can assess students.”
Jaskowski explained that in the AYP assessment process, student bodies are broken into subgroups based on ethnicity, gender, economic status and English language proficiency. State law dictates that an increasing percentage of students in every subgroup must meet a “safe harbor” target in order to make AYP.
Jaskowski explained that 82.1 percent of students in District 220 elementary schools met or exceeded state standards on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test, which determines AYP. In the middle school level, however, only 51.3 percent of students met or exceeded the standards, according to the Prairie State Achievement Exam.
The four schools that failed to meet state standards were Sunny Hill Elementary, Barrington High School and both middle school campuses. Jaskowski said because middle schools and high schools are larger than elementary schools, they are more likely to have more subgroups. And if one subgroup comes up short of targets, the entire school does not meet AYP.
Sunny Hill, Jaskowski explained, has the district’s highest percentage of students who are still learning English, giving them a larger subgroup that the district’s other elementary schools do not have.
In total, four Sunny Hill groups failed to meet AYP targets. Only 69.7 percent of all its students met or exceeded state reading standards; 50 percent of students with limited English proficiency met reading standards; 41.4 percent of disabled students met reading standards; and 74.1 percent of disabled students met math standards.
The high school had nine groups that came up short, including the overall 11th-grade student body in reading and math. White students, Hispanic students, the disabled subgroup and low income students also missed targets.
Barrington Middle School Station only had one subgroup below targets: 75.2 percent of disabled students met or exceeded state reading standards while the safe harbor target was set at 82.1 percent.
The most impressive scores were put up by students at Grove Avenue, which helped earn the school the Chicago Sun-Times’ No. 18 ranking out of 2,202 elementary schools in the state. Roslyn Road earned the No. 20 ranking, North Barrington ranked at 44, and Barbara Rose, Countryside and Hough Street also made the top 100, according to the Sun-Times analysis.
Prairie came in at No. 61 and Station at 97 out of 1,423 middle schools.
Barrington High School ranked 30th out of 689 high schools in Illinois.
Jaskowski said she thinks the one-size-fits-all approach to No Child Left Behind is the reason that 82 percent of school districts statewide are not meeting AYP.
“No Child Left Behind, while noble in its intentions, has something amiss when 82 percent of the districts statewide are not making AYP, particularly when those schools top other lists in ACT achievement,” said Jaskowski.
She cited New Trier and Stevenson High schools as other large schools that boast high ACT scores but failed to make AYP.
No Child Left Behind, Jaskowski explained, raises the bar every year by roughly 7.5 percent, with the goal of having all students proficient in reading and math by the year 2014.
“When you look at the data, you have to understand that the bars are different,” Jaskowski said. “But students don’t grow in fixed intervals.”