Kylie Klein, Director of Research, Accountability, and Data at School District 65, presented her vision for a revamped Achievement and Accountability Report at the School Board’s Sept. 23 meeting. She recommended that the report continue to provide student results on standardized tests, but told the RoundTable that the measures that will be used in reporting those results have not yet been  determined. She recommended that the report provide additional information that will celebrate the accomplishments of students, teachers, principals and community partnerships.

Board members did not vote on the recommendations, but those who spoke supported the changes that Ms. Klein recommended.

Ms. Klein said that as part of the process she reviewed the reporting methods of 17 other school districts, conducted one-on-one discussions with several stakeholders, and conducted a survey that she sent to 180 people, 30 of whom responded.

The report “is intended for a community audience,” she said. “We have other structures internal to the District that are utilized by school educators, school leaders, District management to look at and review data.”

Ms. Klein said she used three guiding principles in considering various options for the report and that guided her overall approach. They are:

First, the report must be” informative” and not be overly technical, and it must contain information the community is interested in having. “The level of information must be sufficient to provide information for drawing reliable conclusions about district performance …”

Second, the report must by “inclusive” and reflect “our diverse community,” she said. This principle informs the “levels of disaggregation” of data by subgroup, while safeguarding student and family confidentiality.

Third, the report should be “valuable.” She said “the data included in the report [should] represent the key levers for measuring student learning and engagement.”

Ms. Klein briefly discussed the achievement reports prepared by three school districts – San Francisco, Jeffrey County (Wyoming) and Tulsa, Okla. – as potential examples and models.

The San Francisco report contains four pages that have charts showing demographic information; performance and trends, by subgroup, in English Language Arts and Math; social and emotional learning; school climate; absenteeism; suspensions; and English language learner (ELL) re-designation.

The Tulsa report “highlights the folks in their community and the different kind of ways of learning,” said Ms. Klein. Portions of the report talk about student accomplishments, such as where students are taking leadership roles, or participating in national triathlons or different sporting events. They also take a look at the number of students taking advanced placement classes, or what students are learning in the arts.

“They’re trying to look at measures and data that highlight and elevate student accomplishments that are key levers for kids’ learning,” Ms. Klein said.

Tulsa’s report also highlights the accomplishments of teachers and school leaders and discusses how community organizations are creating meaningful learning opportunities for students.

Ms. Klein recommended that one section in District 65’s accountability and achievement report be modeled after the Tulsa report and recognize: a) student accomplishments and leadership, including in the arts and civic activities; b) educator leadership and accomplishments; c)  principal leadership and school accomplishments; and d) community accomplishments and contributions.

Ms. Klein also recommended that the report provide longitudinal assessment data, by subgroups, including ELL students. She said the report would provide assessment results on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, administered by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) (given to third- through eighth-graders); the Illinois Snapshot of Learning (ISEL)(administered to kindergartners this year); and the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)(given to assess literacy skills in kindergarten through third grade).

Ms. Klein said the report would include additional data, including school demographics, attendance data and focal aspects of school climate and culture as measured by the 5Essentials Survey, which is administered by the Illinois State Board of Education.

“As part of the process, we would create a school-level data report,” said Ms. Klein. She said she would work with principals and school leaders to make sure it met their needs.

“This is our vision for a holistic approach to student and child development and all the things that we know matter for kids,” said Ms. Klein.

The RoundTable asked Ms. Klein if the report would provide data showing progress on each of the Board’s four academic goals adopted as part of the strategic plan in 2015, specifically, if the District would report: 1) the percentage of students, by subgroup, meeting the college readiness benchmarks identified by NWEA; 2) the percentage of students, by subgroup, making expected gains using NWEA’s growth targets (either modified or not); 3) the percent of students, by subgroup, in the bottom quartile, using NWEA’s norm table as the basis for the 25th percentile; and 4) the progress made in decreasing opportunity or achievement gaps.

Ms. Klein told the RoundTable, “We didn’t get into this level of detail at the presentation. Similar to the model of the SFUSD [San Francisco] report, we will show average performance measures as well as breakouts by subgroups, including race, free/reduced lunch status ELL status, and IEP status. The report will include NWEA assessment results and we will be evaluating which measures will specifically be included. Ideally, the data included will reflect both attainment measures and growth measures for both English Language Arts and Math. … The report will show and include information on the achievement/opportunity gaps, by race.”

As of yet, then, there is apparently no decision on which “measures” will be used to assess student proficiency or growth. No Board member asked about this at the Sept. 23 meeting, which was attended by all Board members except Candance Chow.

Ms. Klein added, “We will report the same kindergarten readiness measures we have historically reported in order to provide continuity and useful information to our stakeholders working in the early childhood space.”

Ms. Klein also told the RoundTable that the report will not report data by grade level, or grade clusters, and that the report “will serve as both the report made to the Board and to our community (one and the same).”

The community and the Board will thus lack information to determine if progress is being made between third grade and eighth grade, and to determine if students are accelerating growth or losing growth at certain grade levels.  

Board Reactions

Board member Joey Hailpern said, “I love the recommended changes starting out with several different opportunities for recognition … and an opportunity to celebrate.” He said it would help the climate and culture of the schools and be “a great thing for the community.”

Board Vice President Anya Tanyavutti said, “I love the blend of having the long-term picture, the longitudinal piece, and also capturing value and capturing holistic learning, those intangible things that make people love their school, their teachers, their families, etc.

“I think it will be restorative for a lot of people to be able to see their community showing up in a way that they experienced it …”

Ms. Tanyavutti added, “It will also hold us accountable.” It will show “how we are making progress that we want to make on standardized tests and assessment metrics. I like the blending of that.”

Board President Suni Kartha highlighted for members of the Board that the report would not provide “cohort analyses,” because such  analyses would not include students who entered the District after the time period the cohort analysis began. Also, Ms. Kartha pointed out that the report would not disaggregate data by multiple intersections (e.g., showing results for black low-income students, or black students with an IEP) if parsing the data into small groups of students would breach privacy rights.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...