Time to pore over school test score data. Both Chicago metro daily papers today published massive searchable databases of test results.

The Sun-Times compiles rankings based on the average scores of students at each school on state achievement tests.

That report shows Evanston’s Willard Elementary School ranking 7th among 2205 elementary schools in the state.

Seven more Evanston elementary schools were in the top quarter statewide on that scale — Orrington at 95, Lincolnwood at 125, the elementary grades at Rhodes Magnet school at 156, Dewey at 231, Lincoln at 246, Kingsley at 267 and the elementary grades at King Lab at 490.

Also in the top half were Walker at 555, Washington at 590 and Dawes at 619. Just below the top half was Oakton at 1,240.

All Evanston middle schools were in the top quarter among 1386 middle schools statewide with Rhodes middle grades at 49, Haven at 54, Nichols at 65, King Lab at 171 and Chute at 269.

Evanston Township High School ranked 46 among 656 high schools statewide.

The ranking are generally similar if you look at the Chicago Tribune’s database and consider the overall percentage of test scores meeting or exceeding state standards.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. District scores
    The compelling data from the Oakton breakdown is that the 3rd graders scored in the 80-90th percentile, on par with the rest of the district.

    We moved into the Oakton school area while our oldest child was still in preschool. At the time, our seller – a District 65 psychologist – told us we’d hear whispers about the school but to ignore them: her kids went there and were excelling at ETHS and in college. She was right on the first account. We’d hear the caffeinated moms in sweatshirts from other schools openly disparaging Oakton at skating classes. We’d listen to some neighbors talking anxiously about whether their permissive transfers would go through. And yet when we visited Oakton, met the new principal, viewed the kindergarten classes in action, and noted the upsurge in scores, it was obvious to us that the school was undergoing a sea-change. Once we’d met all the parents who shared a collective enthusiasm for investing in this change, we never looked back.

    Our daughter was reading by Christmas of her kindergarten year, writing in a reading journal and doing math in her head by April. And she wasn’t an anomaly – the whole class was on board. She’s in a happy, healthy, challenging environment. If I didn’t know so she wouldn’t be there. Some parents are still going to divest from their community and send their precious ones elsewhere. Their prerogative. And yes, Oakton’s scores are still going to be relatively low for another year or two. But just you wait: this school is a phoenix rising.

    We can hope our sister schools are cheering us on.

  2. Up and coming Oakton
    If your children go to Oakton, you already know the dramatic transformation that has taken place at Oakton. We smile about it every day.

    What’s happened?

    Most notably, there is a principal who has taken charge of the school’s academic success.

    All of my children’s teachers have been wonderful educators who took the time to get to know my children and worked with us to help my children succeed. My children are very different from each other, yet each has succeeded at Oakton.

    While our collective ISAT numbers still lag a bit behind other D65 schools, those numbers have shown marked improvement for virtually every group for three years running now.

    Also understand how the size of a testing group affects the ISAT percentages — with a small test group, a child or two falling below the ISAT standards can significantly affect the “meeting or exceeding” percentages. We have a large population of low-income students and everyone is working toward their success and the numbers are improving.

    Before- and after-school programs abound — chess club, recorder club, drum ensemble, taekwon-do, sewing club.

    The building and grounds are sparkling — no longer neglected.

    More neighborhood parents are choosing to send their child to this wonderfully diverse school.

    If you don’t know Oakton, stop in and get to know us.

    For those who don’t get to know all of the wonderful things about Oakton, please wish us well.

    If you can’t wish us well, please respect our students, teachers, administrators and our entire community — don’t spread unfounded rumors that haven’t been true for years, if they ever were.

    For those repeating the rumors without caring about the truth, ask yourself — why keep up the whisper campaign of untruths against our fine students? It’s no longer fashionable to bash them. Someone may challenge your whispers with facts and that would be embarrassing to you.

    And perhaps your own children are listening and wondering why you are bashing our students, too.

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