According to the report, the district is not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress statewide standards.
However, neither is any other high school district in the state, according to Sun-Times Media.
Adequate Yearly Progress is determined by student scores on the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE), participation rates on state assessments and graduation rates.
During the 2011-12 academic year, the number of Lincoln-Way students meeting or exceeding state standards dropped, from 72.1 percent in 2010-11 to 68.8 percent in 2011-12. The state average during both years was approximately 51 percent. The state standard is 85 percent.
In math, for which the state standard is also 85 percent, 70.9 percent of Lincoln-Way students met or exceeded state standards in 2011-12, compared to 71.3 percent in 2010-11. The state average was approximately 51.5 percent during both years.
All four schools in the district were ranked in the top five highest scoring south and southwest suburban high schools on the PSAE, according to documents provided by Lincoln-Way Schools. Every Lincoln-Way high school also tested within the top 10 percent of high schools in the state on the PSAE.
“I think all four of our schools do really well,” said Sharon Michalak, assistant superintendent of District 210.
Michalak said that offering the same opportunities to students at all four schools in the district is a priority for Lincoln-Way.
She also specified that No Child Left Behind, the policy with which Adequate Yearly Progress measurements are associated, has led to several beneficial changes within the district since its implementation in 2002.
The district now offers an advisory period where teachers meet with study hall students, as well as support systems, such as math labs and writing centers. Summer school is now used as a supplementary educational resource for high-achieving students in addition to serving as a remedial option.
Machalak is particularly proud of the district’s requirement that every student take reading class, a policy that she says is unique to District 210.
In reference to the district’s declining reading scores, Machalak said “That makes me question the assessment.”
The Adequate Yearly Progress system will remain in effect for two more years. 92.5 percent of students will be expected to meet or exceed state standards in the 2012-13 school year and 100 percent will be expected to do so by 2014.
In the years following 2014, schools will begin to use Common Core standards, a rigorous program that emphasizes student growth and compares students on a national scale, according to Sun-Times Media. All districts will be using Common Core by the 2016-17 school year.
Michalak says District 210 will utilize Common Core to better teach comprehensive and critical thinking.
Michalak and district director of community relations Stacy Holland both discussed the importance of student achievement benchmarks outside of the Adequate Yearly Progress standards, such as activity participation and attendance.
“There’s a lot more that goes into student achievement than just a two-day test,” said Holland.
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