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State scores rise; Dixon’s scores decline

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

In a Nov. 2 letter to The Reader’s Voice [“Move forward with vision at Dixon Schools”], Pam Short Tourtillott wrote: “The quality of education our students receive is of the highest. Test scores are on the rise.”

Actually, test scores are on the rise all over the state.

Between 2006 and 2012, the state’s average ISAT math and reading scores rose at every grade level by at least 2.1 points (third-grade math) and by up to 9.3 points (fifth-grade reading).   

Between 2006 and 2012, Dixon’s ISAT test scores declined in third-grade math (-0.3 points); fourth-grade reading (-8.4 points); fifth-grade math (-2.4 points); sixth-grade reading (-2.2 points); sixth-grade math (-3.5 points); and eighth-grade math (-5.1 points).

While the percentage of Illinois students who meet the standards has increased, the percentage of Dixon students who meet those standards has actually declined.  

Between 2006 and 2012, Dixon’s eighth-grade reading test scores rose from 80.0 to 81.6 (a gain of 1.6 points); but the state average eighth-grade reading score rose from 79.2 to 86.2 (a gain of 7.0 points).

Despite the fact that Dixon’s eighth-grade reading scores rose, our students have fallen beneath the state average for 6 straight years (every year after 2006). Since 2006, the state average has increased more than Dixon’s students in every reading and math ISAT, except seventh-grade reading.  

Between 2006 and 2012, Dixon’s eighth-grade math scores fell by 5.1 points, while the state average increased by 6.8 points. Reagan Middle School’s eighth-grade math scores are now 10.7 points below the state average and rank in the lowest quintile in the state (source: schooldigger.com). Dixon’s eighth-grade students have been below the state’s math average for 6 straight years.   

How can any school board member consider this to be a high-quality education?

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