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Making the grade

Published: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 4:07 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 7:33 p.m. CST

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series on the Illinois School Report Card. In Tuesday’s paper, the BCR looks at how area elementary schools measure up.

In April, area high school juniors took the Prairie State Achievement Exam, which tests students in math, reading and science. On Tuesday, those scores were released on the 2012 Illinois School Report Card, which offers a variety of information on overall student performance, performance on state assessments, student demographics and financial information.

At area high schools, scores ranged from slight increases at Bureau Valley High School and Princeton High School to a significant decrease at DePue High School. Once again, each school failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) as measured by No Child Left Behind. The percentage of students who meet or exceed state standards has steadily increased throughout the years, and last year, 85 percent of the students who took the test needed to meet that mark in order to make Adequate Yearly Progress. Across the state, only 11 high schools in Illinois made AYP this year based on PSAE scores.

Princeton High School

Once again, juniors at Princeton High School led the county with the highest test scores. Of the 156 juniors who took the test, 64.1 met or exceeded state standards, three-tenths percentage points more than last year’s juniors.

PHS continued its upward trend, with juniors scoring the highest scores since 2004, when 71 percent met or exceeded the state standards. PHS juniors improved their scores by about two percentage points in reading and science, but showed a slip in math, dropping two percentage points to 66.7 percent of the students meeting or exceeding the state standards. PHS still led the county with its math scores, more than 10 percentage points ahead of Bureau Valley, the second highest percentage in the county.

Bureau Valley High School

Bureau Valley scores also improved last year, increasing just over one percentage point to 63.2 percent, a new high score.

Of the 87 juniors who took the test in April, the number of students who met or exceeded the standards increased by more than two percentage points in reading and science. With 66.7 percent of the students meeting or exceeding in both science and reading, the school led the county in both categories. Math scores dropped slightly by more than one point.

Across the state, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards increased last year from 50.5 percent to 51.3 percent, so PHS and Bureau Valley were the only schools in the county to exceed the state average.

Hall High School

The scores of the 88 juniors at Hall High School dropped 3.5 points to the 51.1 percent mark, reversing last year’s increase.

Scores dropped in all three categories, from a more than six-point drop in science, to 48.9 percent, to a smaller decreases in reading and math.

LaMoille High School

LaMoille’s scores reversed their recent upward trend. Of the 13 juniors who took the test, 48.7 percent met or exceeded state standards, more than two percentage points fewer than the previous year.

Scores dropped more than eight percentage points in reading, to 53.8 percent, and almost one point in science, to 46.2 percent. Math scores jumped more than six percentage points in math, to 46.2 percent.

DePue High School

DePue juniors hit a new low, with the number of students meeting or exceeding standards falling from 31.9 percent last year to 14.6 percent this spring.

Scores of the 32 students who took the test, eight more than in 2011, increased slightly in science, to 21.9 percent. However, those scores dropped almost 21 points, to 12.5 percent, in math, and an even bigger drop of 32 points in reading, to 9.4 percent.

Ohio High School

Comparing Ohio High School’s scores with the rest of the county is difficult because of the district’s low enrollment. The state does not release specific data on groups of fewer than 10 students.

According to the data available, less than 28 percent of the nine juniors who took the test met or exceeded standards in reading, a drop of 15 points. Math scores dropped more than 20 points to 36.4 percent, reversing a similar gain in 2011.

Comment on this article at www.bcrnews.com.

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