Some groups of Evanston Township High School students showed improvement on the Prairie State achievement exam this year. But results for other groups sagged.

The District 202 school board is scheduled to get a report on the test results tonight from the district’s research director, Judith Levinson.

She says that Hispanic, white and special education students did better this year than last. Black students gave back most of the major spike in scores that they had seen in 2008, but showed results slightly better than they had in 2007.

Levinson says black students taking the test as juniors this year had entered high school with lower test scores than black students who entered the school the year before.

The results mean that the district has continued to fail to meet performance standards under the federal No Child Left Behind law for black and disabled students for both reading and math and for economically disadvantaged students in math.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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7 Comments

  1. Evanston School Tests
    Why are none of the test scores breaking out the Asian students scores ? Are they being lumped in with ‘White’ students ? There are more than enough Asian students in the schools to have scores reported.
    Accurate or not, the perception is that Asian students score higher on tests and class grade, that other groups. Are there scores lumped in with ‘White’ so white Evanston parents feel that their children are doing well ? Maybe they are but that question remains open and leaves a question in mind of where the good scores are really from.


    Reply:
    Latest census survey data shows that Asians are just under 7 percent of Evanston’s population. State test rules say that groups of less than 45 students do not have to be separately reported. It appears that the number of Asian students in the 11th grade test cohort is too small to be reportable.
    –Bill

    1. Evanston School Tests
      Using very ball-park numbers:
      Population 74,000 less 7500 NU student [probably high]
      * 7.5% and assuming half are K-12 means 179 students in each grade.
      Even if some figures are off, still enough to be broken out.
      ========
      I agree with response to my first comment, Pass/Fail tells us nothing. Break results down by scores even if in 25% brackets.

      1. School tests
        Hi John —

        I asked Judith Levinson, the ETHS research director, who says the number of Asian students in grade 11 — the grade tested for the state exam — is 21 — less than half the state cutoff of 45 for being reported.

        Across the four grades at ETHS, she says, there are a total of 97 Asian students or about 3 percent of the total student population.

        (I didn’t ask her why that percentage is lower than the census bureau estimate for the city as a whole, but I can think of several possible reasons.)

        She says results for the students who are not reported separately in the racial/ethnic breakout are only included in the overall totals for the school — they aren’t lumped into some other subgroup.

        So the scores of Asian students are not included in the reported scores for white students or black students or Hispanic students.

        — Bill

  2. What are the rules?
    John raises an interesting point: where do the minorities go if they aren’t separately reported? I could see where 50 kids would make a significant difference if they’re rolled into another minority group’s figures. If – as I assume they would be – they’re rolled into a majority number, they aren’t as likely to make a difference in the score either way.

    However, John – your question also brings up a common misconception about how these numbers are to be read: the scores are pass/fail, so whether a student scores exceptionally high or low isn’t a factor (IMO, a problem in the way scores are tabulated, because it doesn’t differentiate between a student who scores 0 and a student who gets 49% of the questions correct, but it does prevent outlier high or low scores from affecting the results.) I have always thought, however, that we need to see a breakdown on the students who didn’t meet standards.

  3. School Tests
    Looking at the Census data from two sources and different formating to avoid errors, it appears the Asian and Hispanic populations of Evanston are about the same percentages. I previously excluded NU students in my calculations but a number of graduate NU students have children—and apparently from commnets through the years enough to concern taxpayer—and probably a higher percent Asian than Hispanic give NU student breakdown.
    If Judith Levisnon’s numbers are correct and even against rough calculations of how many Asian students are in the schools, where are they ?
    Is the difference caused by a lack of confidence in the schools and hence private schools or home schooling ?
    =====================
    Perhaps parents with children still in the schools have a good feel for the quality/problems of the schools/programs [though aside from what their own children experience their comments don’t reflect it], taxpayers without children in the schools or where they have been out for more than a few years probably don’t. Instead we ‘about’ the schools from 1. news stories about a few exceptional student [are they getting all their education from ETHS classes or special programs like at NU, teachers tutoring, internships at labs and elsewhere and most of all parents to require X hours of home studies and spending time helping [not doing] their children with their studies] , 2. news stories about those that commit crimes [sadly the larger number of stories, 3. stories about the teachers unions salary/pension/benefits ‘requests’, 4. stories about the superintendent’s contract extensions and growing administration staffing.
    Taxpayers would like a better explanation of what we get for our dollars than a few graphs with ambigious explanations and letters to the editors with praise from those with vested interests.

  4. Scores of Black students at ETHS
    “Levinson says black students taking the test as juniors this year had entered high school with lower test scores than black students who entered the school the year before.”

    So, knowing this, did ETHS do anything differently than they have done in past years? What changes were made to curriculum and instruction to address this for the 3 years these students were at ETHS prior to the PSAE?

    SOS may not be enough.

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