During the 2012-2013 academic year, District 211 established academic goals for its students that included yearly goals and targets to accelerate academic achievement in various categories. With a focus on student learning and growth, high school standards attainment, high school graduation rate, and college and career readiness, the District’s academic goals reflect changes in the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) accountability system.
Teachers had an opportunity to assess and refine the curriculum during 10 morning work sessions throughout the previous school year, and the Board of Education approved 12 similar sessions for the 2013-2014 academic year at its July 11 meeting. This will help ensure continued growth and work toward improving student success.
Since the first year of monitoring academic goals, there have been improvements in each of the targeted areas. The first academic goal is directed toward individual student improvement on both enrollment in accelerated coursework and growth within state assessments and the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS). During the 2012-2013 school year, 44 percent of students enrolled in accelerated coursework, including all honors and advanced placement coursework.
The freshman class of 2013 had 30 percent of its students enrolled in accelerated coursework and by senior year, 47 percent met that goal. The ISBE had set a target of 57.4 percent of students to increase their scores in the EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT examinations. District 211 had 77.8 percent of students increase their score by more than half a point or achieved the maximum score of 6.0.
The second academic goal focused on students demonstrating attainment of knowledge and skills defined within local, state, and national high school standards. This is the first year that departments have used District benchmark assessments, which are administered in each course at the end of the learning process to determine whether students have made progress toward mastering critical learning standards. Teachers have already noticed many ways the benchmarks can be improved and used in the future, and will use future morning work sessions as a way to continue reaching goals and increasing the number of test items for assessment.
The third goal strives to have all students, regardless of income-level, race, or educational background, demonstrate on-time graduation from high school. In the Class of 2012, 93 percent of all students graduated within four years of entering high school, and 94 percent of all students graduated within five years of entering high school. ISBE standards indicate that high schools should have 90 percent of its students graduate in four years, and 95 percent within five years.
The final academic goal ensures that all students will demonstrate that they are college and career ready while in high school. District 211 focused on creating more opportunities for all students to be college and career ready. Roughly 50 percent of students in the Class of 2013 participated in at least one advanced placement course. In May 2012, 80 percent of students who completed an advanced placement exam scored a 3, 4, or 5, which makes them eligible for college credit.
Additionally, students have access to dual-credit courses in partnership with Harper College, and enrollment in these courses has increased 7 percent. The Class of 2013 had 72 percent of students meeting the English college readiness benchmark on the ACT exam, and 71 percent meeting the mathematics benchmark. The District plans to continue its efforts to increase student performance on high-stakes tests, which create opportunities after graduation.
Increased morning work sessions will allow time for professional learning teams to conduct work toward achieving each of the District’s academic goals. The continued efforts will help ensure future student success, as well as improvement for identifying patterns in student results, asking questions about assessments themselves, instruction, standards of curriculum, using results to guide instructional changes between morning work sessions, and reviewing the impact of adjustments on instruction and student performance.
To read the full report on progress toward meeting academic goals, please visit the District’s board docs website.