Less than Half of D181 3rd Graders Hit Math Growth Targets

Superintendent Renée Schuster said Monday the district's administration is "not happy" with the MAP results that came at the end of the first year of widespread curriculum-compacting in third grade.

The first set of District 181 third-graders exposed to newly accelerated math curriculum did not show adequate fall-to-spring growth on average, Superintendent Renée Schuster said at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Though the average raw MAP test score in District 181 is high, results of the spring test show, according to Schuster’s superintendent report, that only 47.2 percent of District 181 third-graders met their individual growth targets bewteen fall 2012 to spring 2013.

Individual District 181 schools had percentages that ranged from 33.8 percent hitting their targets at Prospect School, to 80 percent at Oak School.

See District 181’s third-grade MAP math results here.

Schuster said the district’s goal is to have more than 50 percent of students hit their growth targets.

“We did not see the student growth we had hoped we would,” Schuster said. “We are not happy with the student growth we had and we will address the concerns that that may raise.”

The percentage of third-graders hitting math growth targets was down district-wide from 2011-12, when 49.9 percent of third-graders hit their math target. Every other elementary grade saw a year-over-year increase, Schuster said.

Matt Bousquette, a third-grade parent at Oak, criticized the administration during public comment for not adequately preparing teachers for the compacted curriculum and for not having curriculum materials set consistently across the district.

“We just weren’t ready to get going,” Bousquette said of the new curriculum compacting. “We started to execute it, and every teacher and every school tried to do the best they could to come up with the best result … and the results were wildly different by school.”

The compacting of third- and fourth-grade math for nearly all third-graders in District 181 is a compenent of the new Advanced Learning Plan, and one that was started during the current 2012-13 transition year.

Previously, about 40 percent of third-graders completed fourth-grade math.

"This year, almost 100 percent have been exposed to fourth grade curriculum," Schuster said.

The compacting is meant to help the district reach its goal of having most students complete one algebra class by the end of eighth grade and Schuster called it “groundbreaking work.”

The superintendent said third-grade math teachers will be trained on the district's best practices for the compacted curriculum over the summer and the approach will be different in 2013-14, when all third-grade classes in District 181 will use the same math materials.

“We have a better plan to make it work, so we’re going to move forward with the better plan,” Schuster said.

Bousquette said he thinks the district’s administration broke promises it made to parents this school year when it said that teachers would be ready for the new curriculum at the start of the year, that students would do better than the year before, that the new curriculum would be applied consistently throughout the district, and that the administration would be open with parents about the results.

“Next year, we’re getting ready to take the same group of people with the same set of promises and somehow we think we’re going to get a different result,” Bousquette said.

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Third-Grade Parent May 22, 2013 at 05:50 PM
So let's see if we understand this: "groundbreaking work" means the majority of D181 third-grade students cannot hit a MAP test growth target. In the eyes of Renee Schuster, this is correct; furthermore, she believe sufficient growth is at "or above" 50%. Wow, what a lofty standard she has set for a district that once was considered high achieving. In less than 3 years, Schuster has flushed the growth, hope, and aptitude of students, teachers, and parents alike down the toilet. But wait, next year she has "a better plan to make it work." Yeah, right. If the performance of our district as a whole this past "transition" year is any indication of the effectiveness of her leadership and the direction she is taking, parents should be demanding this experimentation on children stop immediately. Oh, and if a highly paid Superintendent cannot articulate the difference between a mean and median test result (as evidenced at the last BOE meeting), she should be fired. The students and parents of D181 deserve better. Numbers don't lie, people do.


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