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At the Evanston RoundTable’s request, Paul Zavitkovsky, of the Urban School Leadership Project at the University of Illinois-Chicago, prepared an analysis of School District 65’s test results on the Illinois Standard Achievement Tests (ISATs) for the period 2001-09 and School District 202’s test results on the Prairie State Achievement Tests (PSAEs) for the period 2004-09. The ISATs and the PSAEs are the State’s assessments to measure annual yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Rather than analyzing the test results using proficiency benchmarks (e.g., “below standards”, “meet standards”, “exceed standards”), Mr. Zavitkovsky analyzed the data using normative measures. In other words, he compared how District 65 and District 202 students were doing in relation to all other students in the State who took the ISATs and PSAEs. The analyses he performed are similar to those discussed in his research report, “Something’s Wrong with Illinois Test Results” that he presented to the Illinois Education Research Council in June 2009. A link to his report is provided below.

The RoundTable plans to publish a series of articles that report on the results of Mr. Zavitkovsky’s analysis. In the June 9 issue, the RoundTable plans to discuss some limitations of the ISATs and how normative data can provide a more reliable and nuanced view of student achievement and growth over time. In subsequent articles the RoundTable plans to report on trends of achievement at District 65 and District 202.