District 34 tailors instructional methods to ISAT changes
Updated: April 22, 2013 11:07AM
GLENVIEW — School District 34 in Glenview is developing new instructional methods in view of tougher scoring of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.
The Illinois State Board of Education in January voted to raise ISAT cut scores in mathematics and English for students.
For instance, the cut score is similar to a grading scale of 90-100 changing to 94-100 for an A grade.
In response, District 34 has begun implementing plans to improve performance, such as using the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that focus on college and career preparation.
The standards were a state-led effort through the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers that states voluntarily adopted.
Designed to ensure that high schools students are ready for two- and four-colleges, the standards in purpose remain the same for every state to promote learning equity among students, stated a District 34 report.
Glenbrook School District 225 in Glenview and Northbrook also started implementing CCSS.
Beth Tsoumas, executive director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for District 34, said research showed that in general some freshmen students entering college needed remedial reading.
“And some can’t take math because in college because they don’t have the prerequisite skills. Why? The level of rigor and expectation is not there,” she said.
“In grade by grade, these skills are needed for freshmen to enter college and careers,” said Brett Clark, District 34 spokesman.
Tsoumas said Common Core Standards will be phased in with full implementation by June 2014.
District 34 also has a Common Core Leadership Team for coordinating communication and professional development.
District officials have released information on the impact of higher expectations, mainly that ISAT scores will likely fall in meeting or exceeding standards.
“Still, we’re raising the bar,” Tsoumas said.
She also explained students will be expected to master as juniors in high school, for example, what they need to know as seniors.
“We’ll put support in places for students who need help, such as small-group learning and intervening when needed,” Clark said.
Additional information released by the district said Common Core Standards were established based on surveys showing what skills were needed for students to enter college and careers, as well as comparisons with high-performing states and countries.