Most students in District 65 continued to show improved results on state tests last year.

School Superintendent Hardy Murphy told the board this week that the percentage of black students meeting or exceeding state standards for reading rose five percentage points — from 69 percent in 2007 to 74 percent in 2008.

White students showed a half point gain — from 96.5 to 97 percent.

School officials blamed a drop in reading performance by Hispanic students on a mid-year decision by the state, on orders from the federal government, to switch the test used for students with limited English proficiency.

Reading test scores for those students dropped from 71.3 percent passing to just 49.2 percent.

On the math test, scores for all groups improved, but generally only by fractions of a percentage point. The biggest gain there was scored by limited English proficiency students — whose passing percentage rose from 71.9 to 77.3 percent.

Murphy said none of the district’s schools are in state or federal improvement status this year.

More detailed information on the test results are available in the online packet for this week’s school board meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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