Most Evanston public schools scored in the top 10 percent of schools across the state in a new ranking released today by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The paper’s analysis of state achievement test data ranks schools based on the average scores of students in each school on state-mandated achievement tests.

Among 2,202 elementary schools statewide, the rankings for Evanston/Skokie Distrcit 65 were:

33 – Orrington

53 – Dewey

96 – Willard

150 – Rhodes

217 – Lincolnwood

290 – Lincoln

296 – King Lab

329 – Washington

352 – Kingsley

385 – Dawes

542 – Walker

963 – Oakton

Among 1,423 middle schools statewide, the rankings for Evanston schools were:

65 – Haven

100 – Rhodes

112 – King Lab

123 – Nichols

311 – Chute

Among 689 high schools statewide, Evanston Township High School ranked 45th.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Illinois is NOT the leader in education

    While this is nice to see, and many people will feel good about this information, Evanston shouldn't be complacent.

    The more appropriate perspective is to look at how Evanston schools perform relative to the best schools in other states and other countries.

    Many would agree that our children, ALL CHILDREN, will be competing in a global economy and need to be fully prepared. Recent studies demonstrate that the United States does not perform well relative to other countries.

    Just Google United States Education – there are many articles.

    The following link is from a Harvard University study:

    In addition, Illinois is not recognized as a leader in education in the United States. That honor goes to Massachusetts.

    While we should celebrate the strengths of our public schools in Evanston, we need to continue to focus on opportunities for improvement. We also need to keep things in perspective.

    Being in the top 10% in Illinois is necessary, but not sufficient.

    There is more work that needs to be done.

    And remember, the test results are a very narrow indicator of the quality of education, it's just one measure.


    1. Massachusetts does not have

      Massachusetts does not have Chicago (low for big cities)  averaged into it's NAEP score. NAEP scores are not available for individual schools.

      Other countries do not take the NAEP test, Theirs is PISA – through the UN – and the individual countries get to pick which schools are tested. – Probably not easily comparable!

      ACT is used in Illinois, but not for all students in many other states so the ACT score comparison would be ALL our students against only college bound students.

      89.9% of all schools wish they were in the top 10%

  2. I am confused about your math

    I am confused about your math and its interpretation. While a majority of Evanston schools may have scored in the top 10%, eight did not, so it is really not  accurate to say that most schools in the district scored at this level. According to the state report cards, eight did not meet AYP.  Please refer to the Illinois State Interactive Report Card. The bar has been raised and we are struggling to meet it.


    1. Math basics

      Not sure what you find so confusing about the math.

      Ten of the 18 schools scored in the top 10 percent of their respective categories.

      Ten of 18 is more than half. More than half is "most."

      What's the problem?

      The Sun-Times report, which is what the story was about, was not based on AYP. That's a different kettle of fish.

      — Bill


  3. Technically you may be right.

    Technically you may be right.  However, if you were a parent and three of your five children (most)  passed, you  would be upset.  Same for a teacher and 51% (most)  of her/his class passed you would view this as unsatisfactory result.  Look at how upset people were about a recent 47% and that wasn't even most!  We can't afford to be satisfied with a simple majority in this case. 

  4. Sad Lab

    As a King Lab alumnus, I'm sad to see it's slid so far.  It used to rank top in the district. 🙁

    I guess that's what happens when the district spends 10 years trying to break the school for being too good, then retires all the experienced teachers and staff.  *sigh*

  5. Lists offer palatable but poor information

    Rankings do very little to show how well or poorly schools are performing.  First of all, standardized tests have been shown repeatedly to be a very poor measure – on both the high and low end – of how well students learn.  Unfortunately, they are the measure we have, so we have to deal with it.

    Second and more importantly – ALL children are tested with the same test, and all the test scores are aggregated to create the school score.  This includes children for whom English is a second language, children with cognitive or learning disabilities (who can receive accommodations like extra time, but unless they rank among the most severely cognitively disabled, take the same test as everyone else)  

    Most schools in Evanston have a significant population of children with language or learning differences that affect the outcome of their test scores.  These kids' scores are not accounted for in the rankings even though their learning trajectory is different.  

    For instance, King Lab houses a large population of special needs students (at least some of whom have disabilities that affect their test scores.) Since the special-needs students aren't accounted for, the "drop" in test scores means less about King Lab's performance as a school than it means the ranking information is just plain not useful.

  6. IRC site tools

    The Illinois Report Card site at has Compare Districts and Compare Schools sections that make it very easy to compare D65 and D202 students with other districts. What I've found most illuminating is to compare "apples with apples"….in other words, to filter results in terms of sub-groups.

    Evanstonians might be surprised to learn that when comparing White and Non Low Income in each of our two school districts with White and Non Low Incomes students in other surrounding districts–including those who rank at or near the top of various lists every year, largely influenced by their more "homoegeneous" populations–our two Evanston school districts' have more White and Non-Low Income students in Meets and Exceeds categories than pretty much any district of comparable size in the Chicago area.

    This is not to say that other and all sub-groups of students don't matter. They do–and the achievement gap that we see nationwide and here in Evanston should motivate us to make sure that the quality of one's education (including the expectations of the school and teachers) is not a funtion of race and/or income.

    But it seems to me that many of the most vocal critics of Evanston's school systems are White and/or Non Low Income and implicitly suggest or assume that districts to the north, northwest, west, etc. would provide children like theirs a far superior education (at least, as indicated by ISAT and PSAE test scores).  In fact, the typical White and/or non low-income public school student fares far better in Evanston than elsewhere. AND they benefit from richly diverse learning environments to boot. 

    As other commenters have already pointed out, neither Illinois nor its learning standards/accountaiblity has ever been a leader nationally. Hopefully, the Common Core standards in Math and ELA–and the assessments that go along with them–will give us and all schools and districts in the Chicago Metro and across the state a better sense of what students are actually learning.

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