One of the goals of the District is to ensure that students fully participate in both days of state tests in order to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
This year, like last year, our schools again hit the mark. At Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, 98 percent of the juniors took the test on Wednesday, April 23, while 97 percent of the juniors at Proviso East High School and 95 percent of Proviso West High School’s juniors were in attendance that day. Similar numbers were reported for the second day of state testing on Thursday, April 24. The numbers will be even higher after those students who missed the testing days take the exams on May 7 and 8, the official state make-up days. Each school is expected to meet 95 percent in order to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2013, 95.5 percent of the District's juniors participated on both ACT and PSAE testing days.
"It was important not only for the students, but for our schools that as many of our students show up and take the exams," said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209. "Many thanks deservedly go out to our parents, faculty, and staff for all of the hard work they put into encouraging our students and helping them understand the importance of full participation. It is noteworthy this year, for the first time, our students reached this goal on the first day, even without the makeups."
The higher participation rates came after a prep and awareness campaign that has been ongoing throughout the school year. Juniors took a practice ACT in January, followed by attending ACT prep programs and reviewing retired ACT tests with their teachers to become more familiar with the format. Classroom sessions were conducted with certified teachers. Teachers also reviewed retired ACT tests with their students to help them become familiar with the format.
All three schools also had public awareness and incentive programs, with posters and banners hung around the school buildings. Incentives also are being offered again this year for students who took part in the two days of state testing.
Results from the state tests will not be available until later this summer, but our schools are optimistic that we will build on the increase that we had over the last several years. The District has had a 33 percent increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in reading on the PSAE since 2009, including an 11.5 percent increase at Proviso East in 2013. The most recent state report card also shows a 55 percent increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics on the PSAE since 2009, and a 37 percent increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in science on the PSAE since 2009. The percentages of students meeting or exceeding standards in reading and math were historical highs since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001.
"We certainly have a way to go, but we must recognize and celebrate the significant progress that has been made," said Mr. Daniel J. Adams, President of the Board of Education.
Congratulations to our students, faculty, and staff for a successful state testing period. You make us all proud!