A new analysis of nationwide student test score data indicates Evanston/Skokie School District 65 tops the national average for student performance growth over time, but falls short of the average for 20 nearby districts.

The study, by Stanford University research Sean Reardon, looks at data from 300 million elementary-school test scores across more than 11,000 school districts.

It was the subject of an in-depth report Tuesday in the New York Times, which noted that students in the Chicago Public Schools showed the most improvement among the nation’s largest school districts — improving scores by six grade levels over five years in school.

By contrast, students at schools in Anne Arundel County Maryland showed only 4.1 years of academic growth in five school years.

When compared to 20 nearby Chicago suburban school districts, Evanston was in a tie for 14th place, with a gain of 5.3 years of academic performance over five school years.

That was good enough for a 76th percentile ranking in the national figures — compared with a 97th percentile rank for Chicago schools.

The new study tries to separate out the academic advantages students arrive at school with — which typically vary widely based on parents’ income and education and other factors — and isolate how much relative improvement students make between third and eighth grade.

Related story

How effective is your school district? (New York Times, 12/5/17)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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