District 65 school board members when they meet tonight are scheduled to review newly-released state test results that show gradual progress district-wide but substantially lagging performance at Oakton Elementary School.

The preliminary results from the Illinois Standards Achievement Test show that 83.7 percent of students in the district’s 10 kindergarten through fifth grade schools met or exceeded the state performance standard for reading and 90.3 percent met the standard for math.

Individual school scores for reading ranged from 93.2 percent at Willard to 65.2 percent at Oakton. Math scores ranged from 98 percent at Willard to 80 percent at Oakton.

Reading scores

The average scores for black students were substantially lower than for white students, but the spread varied, with the smallest disparity at Lincoln and the largest at Oakton.

Both black and white students at Oakton fared less well than their counterparts at other District 65 schools. Not all schools reported scores for both racial groups.

Math scores

District-wide the percentage of students exceeding the reading standard increased from 32 percent in 2006 to 34.8 percent this year, while the number meeting the standard was essentially unchanged at 47 percent — for a net reduction of three percent in those failing to meet the standard.

In math, the percentage of students exceeding the standard rose from 43.6 to 50 percent while the number meeting the standard slipped from 44 to 39.4 percent — for a net reduction of two percent in those failing to meet the standard.

Students at the district’s two magnet schools did somewhat better than the average for the neighborhood schools and the three middle schools tended to score close to the district-wide average.

The full test score report forms the last section of the information packet for tonight’s school board meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Why are White students under performing at Oakton?
    It appears to be the number of low income students at 71% is pulling down the white test scores at Oakton school. It appears Oakton school is like a Chicago public school versus a suburb school.

    Those that favor using income versus race to balance school in thier position papers have said after about 40% low income a school is not middle class any more and the culture is low income.

    The Education is suffering at Oakton. Given the recent court decision it is very unlikely the district will do anything to correct the problem, Given that the white population in District continues to drop the board has few options.

  2. Bill you might want to do alittle research on test scores.
    The district is projecting better scores than are actually occurring – they use meets or exceeds – what you will find out very few low income black students are exceeding the standards – thus the results are being made to look better. By grouping the two they make the scores look like the gap is closer. It really is much wider since income versus race is the real fact in the test scores.

    Although in a community with the people on the school boards and city council who are mostly “liberal racist” that is people who continue to want to use race to jusifity thier position good or bad we are unlikely to solve any problems.

  3. thank you Bill
    Thanks, Bill, for presenting the test scores the way you did. The charts comparing schools make it very clear which schools are doing well and which aren’t. Every school in Evanston should be able to boast similar numbers, and take part in the bragging about improvements, but unfortunately, Oakton is falling far short of the district average.

    The school board chose not to address Oakton’s scores at tonight’s meeting. The board needs to demand to know how the administration will address the school’s obstacles to success. And the district needs to communicate to the public support it intends to implement at Oakton to make sure it does not continue to do markedly worse than other schools.

  4. Oakton School
    The School Board is ignoring the problems at Oakton School…the school with the highest percentage of minority and low income students in the District. Not one Board member raised a question or concern about Oakton’s substantially lagging standardized test scores at last night’s Board meeting.

    Oakton’s dismal scores have been a disgrace for many years. Apparently, that won’t be changing any time soon because the School Board won’t hold the Administration accountable and engage in a public discussion about how to address this sad situation.

    The Administration is getting a pass from this School Board and is not being asked the tough questions that need to be raised.

    1. What should happen at Oakton?

      You are right on with your observation that the District 65 Administration is getting a pass from this incarnation of the School Board with respect to handling the situation at Oakton. Title I monies have been spent at this school, discussion has taken place over many years (at least 9 that I am aware of) and still the scores do not change and our children are not learning. Does anyone know what impact the Afro-Centric curriculum had on test scores at Oakton? As a community member, I would consider my tax dollars better spent if whatever educational practices that appear to be working at other D65 schools (Bessie Rhodes and King Lab both come to mind) are put into place at at Oakton. I do not know what has been tried at Oakton, as my children did not attend there. Since the Administration and Board are having trouble coming up with solutions, maybe those of us not blinded by the Type 75 Adminstrator’s certification can come up with some suggestions for the Board to consider. Even though it is very dishearterning to hear that the skulduggery is still occurring in District 65, thanks for continuing to advocate for our children.

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