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Re-scores mean testing bar is being raised

Updated: March 15, 2013 1:27PM

Woodland Middle School District 50 in Gurnee and Gages Lake didn’t wait for the state to supply re-scores for 2012 standardized test results.

Steve Thomas, director of teaching and learning for the largest elementary district in Lake County, said Wednesday the school did its own research and found that under the new, tougher benchmarks, 15 to 20 percent fewer students in the district would have met state standards.

Thomas said the new benchmark scores mean change.

“We have to investigate and look at providing support services for a larger number of students than ever before who are not meeting standards,” he said. “But we will also do more of the same kinds of things we’ve been doing, to offer the best education for not just students below proficiency, but every single student.”

Thomas said the district, which has an enrollment of 6,600, could not lose sight of students who are “well above” the proficiency line.

“We absolutely need to make sure we’re moving them forward and challenging them everyday,” Thomas said. “There are things to consider given our resources, but we will provide a quality education for every single student regardless.”

The lower re-scores are a reflection, Thomas said, of the fact that elementary students have had a “lower bar” than high school students, who are scored in line with college and career readiness expectations.

Lake County Regional Superintendent of Schools Roycealee Wood said the re-scoring or “cut” score reports were made available to district superintendents beginning Feb. 7.

“The state is looking for new ways to motivate districts to continue to work hard in this area,” Wood said. “They’re raising the bar higher and higher. And I suppose they’re trying to prepare the public, which doesn’t know all the ins and outs of this, not to be shocked if a lot of districts suddenly aren’t making AYP (adequate yearly progress).”

Wood said the state is eyeing 2014, the year it had hoped to see more students reading at a 10th grade level, “which is not going to happen,” she said.

“We just need to gear up for more difficult tests,” she said.

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