District 209...State testing is being considered a success in Proviso Township High Schools District 209 this past week.
More than 90 percent of the District’s 918 juniors took the ACT and the PSAE on April 23 and 24. The District is working to reach at least the 95 percent make-up window as required by the state through an aggressive outreach to students who missed the test. The make-up period is very important. This followed a massive prep and public awareness campaign at all three district schools that stressed the importance of not only showing up for the exams, but being ready and taking them seriously.
"These exams were far-reaching and obviously important for our district, but I would say that overall, testing went well," said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209. "Many thanks deservedly go out to our faculty and staff for all of the hard work they put into making this a success."
The prep and awareness campaign began in earnest in January with juniors taking a practice ACT on January 8. Afterwards, students were able to attend prep programs such as the Cambridge Program, which provided practice and test-taking tips during sessions that met on Saturdays. Students also could participate in ACT Prep (both online and in classroom) and KeyTrain (to prepare for the PSAE) during the school day. Classroom sessions were conducted with certified teachers. Teachers also reviewed retired ACT tests with their students to help them become familiar with the format.
This was added along with a public awareness and incentive program. All three schools held pep assemblies designed to stress the importance of doing well on the tests. These were coupled with posters and banners that were hung around the school buildings and incentives that included extra tickets for prom and graduation, T-shirts, gift certificates, and raffles.
While the final test results will not be known until this summer, attendance on both days of the tests was greatly improved. At PMSA, 99 percent of the 233 juniors at Proviso Math and Science Academy were at school on both days. Attendance on Day 2 for the PSAE jumped from 74 percent of the juniors at Proviso East High School last year to 92 percent this year. Each school is expected to meet 95 percent in order to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
"The tests are important in measuring a student’s readiness not only for college, but for career readiness as well," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "This test is also the measure on which the state judges our schools. The students recognized this, and they should be congratulated."
Mr. Ed Moyer, executive director of assessment and planning, said that makeup tests will be held on May 7 and 8. Missing students will be actively followed up to maximize participation.