Three of four Unit 7 schools meet standard

Three of four Unit 7 schools meet standard

TOLONO — Three out of four Unit 7 district schools made adequate yearly progress as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

This year, to meet standards, 85 percent of all students had to meet or exceed state math and reading goals.

Unity High School Principal Phil Morrison said no Illinois high schools met No Child Left Behind standards on the Prairie State Achievement Exam, taken by juniors; last year, only eight of 670 high schools did.

Morrison said a better measure of student achievement is ACT's Educational Planning and Assessment System. Ninth-graders are assessed using the EXPLORE test, and 11th-graders through the ACT. He pointed out that in the spring Unity juniors' reading scores had improved from 16.26 when they took the EXPLORE test as freshmen to 19.56 on the ACT.

Unity East Elementary School Principal Laura Fitzgerald reported that 91.4 percent of her students met standards in math on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, and 84.2 percent met them in reading. Fitzgerald noted that when she started as principal in 2007, only 69.2 percent of students met standards in reading.

Unity West Elementary School Principal Janet Ellis-Nelson said her school's percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards only went up 0.2 percent from last spring, but that the school is still above the state average. Overall the school has seen an 8.4 percent improvement in scores since 2005, and reading scores have improved each year, she said. Low-income students are also showing improvements in testing, Ellis-Nelson said.

Unity Junior High School Principal Mary Hettinger said that in ISAT reading testing, 86 percent of sixth-graders and 88 percent of seventh- and eighth-graders met or exceeded standards. In ISAT math testing, 93 percent of sixth-graders, 91 percent of seventh-graders and 90 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded standards.