District 58 students continue achieving in reading, math

Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Matt Rich reviewed the District’s proficiency and growth on the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, assessment with the Board of Education during the Board’s recent Curriculum Workshop.

For the first time ever, District 58’s median Reading MAP scores exceeded the 70th percentile at every grade level on the winter assessment. The national median percentile is 50. Median scores above the 70th percentile indicate that not only are many District 58 students exceeding national norms, more than half of all students in District 58 are scoring above the 70th percentile nationally.

Also, for the first time ever, District 58’s winter median Math MAP scores reached the 60th percentile or higher at every grade level, with more than half of grade levels also exceeding the 70th percentile.

“This achievement is really a neat celebration of the hard work and progress our students and staff have accomplished,” said Dr. Rich.

Dr. Rich also reviewed each grade level’s progress over time. In Reading, seven of the District’s nine grade levels achieved their highest-ever median winter MAP score, and in Math, six of nine grade levels also earned their highest median winter MAP score. The District’s median scores have increased since first administering the assessment in the 2013-2014 school year.

Dr. Rich explained that median scores can be a useful piece of data for program evaluation. The District aims to increase median scores from grade level to grade level as well as from year to year.

One way of examining these data is to compare current grade-level performance with these same students’ performance in earlier grades. For example, the District’s current seventh grade students’ median Math score of 72 can be compared with these same students’ performance in the winter of sixth grade, when their median score was at the 62nd percentile, and in the winters of fifth and fourth grade, when their median scores were at the 61st and 60th percentiles, respectively. Another way to examine these data is to compare current grade level performance with seventh graders in prior years. Here again, current seventh graders outperformed the District’s prior seventh graders who earned a median score of 69 in 2016 and 68 in 2015 and 2014. Similar year-over-year improvements in median scores can be seen in many places within the District data.

The District also evaluates academic performance on the MAP assessment through students’ projected growth goals. District students attained tremendous growth in Reading relative to their projected growth, with each grade level exceeding their expected growth for fall to winter. For example, eighth grade students completed more than a full school year’s worth of learning in just the fall semester alone.

Dr. Rich reported that while median scores in Math increased in most grade levels, students’ Math growth relative to their projected fall to winter growth goals lagged in some grade levels, as compared to previous years. For example, in winter 2017, the percent of students meeting their projected growth goals exceeded the national average in grades kindergarten, first, sixth, seventh and eighth, but was closer to the national average in second through fifth grades. This may be due, in part, to the students’ exceptionally strong Math performance in the fall.

“Typically, after summer vacation, students’ performance on the fall MAP assessment decreases significantly, but they often make up this decline in the winter,” said Dr. Rich. “This fall, the District showed much higher levels of achievement than usual, which may have contributed to the District’s lower growth scores from fall to winter.”

Dr. Rich also noted that this year, District 58 provided teachers with additional supports and resources through the enhanced Math Blueprint. The District also offered rigorous math professional development through the Metro Chicago Math Initiative to all teachers.

“Our winter math growth data stood out to us as District 58 administrators, and we shared it with the teachers on the Math Committee, as well as our principal team for input,” Dr. Rich said. “The Math Committee feels strongly that the District is heading in the right direction. The recent Math professional development has encouraged teachers to try new types of Math instruction, and we’ve noticed that students are learning Math in more dynamic and in-depth ways. It takes time for teachers to master new types of instruction, and this could have affected our growth this winter.”

The District will again review student achievement and growth on the MAP assessment in June, following the spring assessment.

Dr. Rich reminded parents that the State’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, assessment and the State’s Illinois Science Assessment will soon be administered. He shared that the District follows the guidance from the Board, community and staff to not emphasize these assessments or teach to the assessment. The State’s contract with PARCC will expire this year. Should the State choose to renew the contract, District 58 will revisit this discussion.

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