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Measuring students’ academic progress

Illinois Report Card information released

TONICA — Each year, the Illinois State Board of Education releases a comprehensive report card showing how each school, district and the state are performing across a range of educational goals, as well as demographic information.

IllinoisReportCard.com is the official source for information about Illinois public schools. It’s meant to help educators, families, students, researchers, policymakers and communities monitor the performance and environments of their local schools as they strive to offer the best education possible.

“I think the state is moving in a better direction regarding how schools are evaluated by using multiple metric points,” Tonica Grade School Superintendent Chuck Schneider said.

“These will be part of the new funding model, which will include academic information as well. A singular assessment is a snapshot in a moment of time and only utilizes one mode of assessment, while students learn differently and show their learning through various assessment types,” Schneider said.

PARCC testing

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) tests were developed to measure academic achievement with challenging standards. The tests require students to use analytical skills, problem solving, and writing effectively, all of which are required for students to be successful in the real world.

Students who meet or exceed expectations will likely be on track for the next grade level and subsequently ready for college and careers. The results are also used to measure student growth for school and district accountability.

“Our testing results showed gains in the number of students that had an exceeds indicator. The number of students passing Algebra 1 as an eighth grader at Tonica was also a positive indication of preparing students for higher level math when they reach high school,” Schneider said.

From 2015 to the present, the percentage of Tonica Grade School students not meeting the PARCC performance standards has dropped from 15 percent to 11 percent, while the state average has risen from 14 to 16 percent.

During the same period, the percentage of those Tonica students who are partially meeting standards has risen from 20 to 26 percent, while the state average is 22 percent.

Thirty-seven percent of Tonica students have approached the PARCC standards for 2017, an increase from the 34 percent of 2015. The state average during this period has remained level at 28 percent.

Twenty-seven percent of Tonica students have met or exceeded the standards, compared to the state’s 34 percent average.

District environment

Average class size in the Tonica district has dropped from the 24 student average in 2014. The current classroom average for Tonica is 15 students, compared to the state’s average of 20.

Tonica students benefit from having PE classes five days a week, compared to the state’s four days.

The average per pupil amount for instructional spending at Tonica is $7,022. The state average per pupil is $7,853.

The average operational spending per student is $10,953, which is lower than the state average of $12,973.

Thirty-seven percent of Tonica students are from low-income families, which is lower than the state average.

Sixteen percent of the Tonica student body have disabilities requiring individualized educational programs.

Teachers

The average salary for Tonica educators is $40,691, significantly lower than the state average of $64,516.

The percentage of teachers returning to the district from year to year at Tonica Grade School is 67.9 percent, lower than the state average of 86.3 percent. Tonica teachers, however, are more likely to be in attendance, with a rate of 82.4 percent being absent 10 days or less during the school year. The state’s average is 75.3 percent.

Regarding Tonica educators, 58.8 percent have a bachelor’s degree and 41.2 percent have their master’s degree. Since 2013, the percentage with their master’s degrees has risen by four percent.

Schneider was asked if he’d like to see any changes made to the evaluation process.

“One change would be a quicker return on results to allow for more informed adjustments to instruction and learning,” he answered.

More information on the district can be found online at www.illinoisreportcard.com.

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