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ISAT scores mixed in county schools

This is the second in a multi-part series. Last spring, students in third, fifth, sixth and eighth grades took the Illinois Standards Achievement Test in reading and mathematics while students in fourth and seventh grades were tested in reading, mathematics and science.

The results were released last week, and the number of students meeting or exceeding state standards across the state continued to slowly improve, climbing from last year’s 82.0 percent meeting or exceeding state standards to this year’s 82.1 percent.

Of the 11 districts with elementary schools in Bureau County, six schools improved their scores, with the biggest jump once again achieved by Leepertown, which increased its percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards by 8.4 percentage points, to 93.1 percent. Also seeing a significant gain was the DePue School District, with a 5.8 point leap to 66.8.

Of the districts who saw their scores drop, the biggest drop was for the Ohio Grade School, which saw scores fall 11.0 percentage points, to 75.2. Scores in the LaMoille School District fell 4.9 points, to 66.8.

Six of the districts were above the state average of 82.1 percent, down from last year’s eight. Schools missing the mark were Malden, Spring Valley, Ohio, LaMoille and DePue.

The news also wasn’t positive when it came to making Adequate Yearly Progress, as defined by No Child Left Behind. Only four districts — Cherry, Ladd, Leepertown and Dalzell — made AYP, down from last year’s six meeting the goal. It addition to requiring 85 percent of all students to meet or exceed in both reading and math, NCLB also requires all subgroups, such as students with disabilities, to have their subgroup score recorded if there are more than 45 students in that subgroup. None of the four districts that made AYP had a subgroup large enough to report.

How did the elementary schools in Bureau County measure up?


It’s hard to improve on being the best, but Cherry students repeated in the top spot in the county for the fifth consecutive year despite seeing a 3-point decrease in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding to a still impressive 94.2.

Individual class scores are not released for privacy reasons when fewer than 10 students take the test in each class, so no individual grade results were available from Cherry, whose largest classes tested was the seven students in fifth and eighth grades. Overall, 100 percent of Cherry’s students met or exceeded standards in math.


Ladd climbed from third to second place this year, in part because last year’s second place school — Neponset — is no more, having been absorbed into the Kewanee School District. In addition, Ladd’s scores climbed significantly, from 91.2 to 93.3 percent of students meeting or exceeding.

Scores from all of Ladd’s classes were also released, and math scores once again led reading scores in all grades, with the exception of the eighth grade. One hundred percent of the students in third and fourth grade met or exceeded the standards in math, and 100 percent of the fourth graders achieved the same feat in science. Other scores breaking the 90 percent mark were fourth-, seventh- and eighth-grade reading; fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math; and seventh-grade science. The lowest score was the third grade reading score, with only 80.0 percent meeting or exceeding standards.


Small schools usually show the greatest test score swings, as one or two students can change percentages by a great deal. That was proven true yet again in Leepertown. 2012 was an up year for the district, as 93.1 percent of the students met or exceeded standards, continuing last year’s upward swing.

The largest class at Leepertown was the nine students in third grade, so no individual grade scores were released. Overall, 95.2 percent of the students met or exceeded state standards in math.

Like Neponset, the Leepertown School District no longer exists, having been annexed into the Ladd and Princeton Elementary School districts July 1.

Bureau Valley

Bureau Valley’s scores were up a slight 0.2 percentage points, with the 88.3 percent of the students who met or exceeded state standards continuing last year’s trend of improving scores.

Individual class scores were released for all grades in Bureau Valley, where reading scores continued to lag behind in every grade tested. Seventh-grade science scores, at 97.1 percent, were the highest in all grades and subjects, with the low mark coming in sixth-grade reading, with 78.9 percent. Other than sixth-grade reading and math, scores in every category were higher than the state average.

The district again failed to make AYP in reading, both overall and among students in the students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged subgroups.

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