Assessment / Grading

Assessment Program

Teachers consider multiple forms of assessment in the total evaluation of the student’s progress, including but not limited to tests, quizzes, written reports, oral presentations, projects, discussions, and class participation. One type of evaluation is the use of standardized tests. Lake Forest District 67 uses standardized assessments to meet state requirements and to further three important district goals: 1) measuring student growth and progress, 2) monitoring curriculum strengths and weaknesses, and 3) assisting in student placement decisions.

District personnel analyze this data for student growth and curriculum strengths and weaknesses. Teachers also use the results to study class and individual student growth.

District 67 uses the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) to measure academic growth and achievement in grades 2-8. Selected students in grades 2 and 4 are assessed using the Cognitive Abilities Test. All students in grades 3-8 will participate in the state mandated Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments.  To learn more about the PARCC assessment, visit www.parcconline.org. Parents receive reports for each standardized assessment in which a child participates.

PARCC

The first year of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing is serving as a baseline for test scores and will establish the performance targets for future years. However, there are no consequences for schools or students tied to the 2015 administration.

There also other key points to keep in mind:

  • This year is a baseline assessment. We do not believe that our results represent a drop in student achievement for our students.
  • The PARCC assessment is a more rigorous test and reflects more challenging and relevant standards. We do not believe that the results reflect reduced standards or lower performance than we have seen in the past.  It does represent a higher standard and a new baseline for our scores to be measured against.
  • As students become more familiar with the test and we continue our efforts to shift our instructional and assessment practices to the new standards, we anticipate that scores will rise.
  • The PARCC assessments represent an improvement on past generations of standardized tests. The PARCC tests require higher levels of critical thinking, analysis, and application.
  • The results from the assessment will provide the school district with information on student learning and for continuous improvement of our educational programs.  
  • Students at Lake Forest did well compared to the Illinois state average and compared to the PARCC average in participating states.

As we look forward to the second year of administration in April, PARCC has reduced the amount of time for testing. PARCC will be given during one testing window instead of the two testing windows as was the case last year. The assessments will be reduced from nine total tests to six.

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There are several states that are members of the PARCC consortium who work together to establish assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. The PARCC Assessment was administered in two parts: the Performance Based Assessment (PBA); and the End of Year (EOY) during the Spring of 2015. These two assessments result in one score.

If you have questions about the PARCC assessment, please contact Susan Milsk, smilsk@lfschools.net or 847-604-7416, or your school principal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Why do schools administer these assessments?

A:   Federal law, including the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) require that states administer an assessment to all eligible students in grades three through eight.  Illinois chose to administer the PARCC Assessment since it is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core.

Q: When can we expect to receive the score reports?

A:  We anticipate the 2015 score reports to be released in late fall.  The results from the first PARCC exam administration are taking additional time to produce because Illinois educators, along with their colleagues from other states, needed to review students' work to determine performance levels.  In the future, it is anticipated that score reports will be released much earlier (prior to the end of the school year).

Q:  What is a good score?  Should we expect to see whether our students met or exceeded the State Standard?

A:  Score reports show how students performed on each portion of the PARCC assessment as well as their overall score. The student test results mark a new baseline that enables all of us to know where students currently stand on their path to success in college and career.

  • Students scoring a 4 or 5 have demonstrated that they have a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are on the right track to being ready for college-level coursework.
  • Students receiving a 3 are approaching expectations, but may need additional assistance mastering content.
  • Students receiving a 1 or 2 need more assistance in mastering the content and are in need of greater supports.
Q:  Why do scores look different this year than in the past?  Why can't we look at whether students are meeting or exceeding state standards?

A:  The bar has been raised for students and the new tests are measuring more complex skills including critical thinking, persuasive writing, and problem solving. This is different than previous tests. A low score does not mean that your child did not improve or learned less.  This first year’s scores set a new baseline from which progress will be measured moving forward.

Q:  What do the score reports look like?

A:   Math Parent Guide for Score Report   ELA Parent Guide for Score Report

Q:  Can we compare scores from this year's PARCC Assessments to the scores from the ISAT in the past?

A:   No. It’s important to remember that the PARCC assessment is a completely different test than past years. The results represent a new baseline that teachers and parents can use to measure progress toward college and career readiness.

Q:  How should we expect students to perform on the new assessment?

A:  We expect that the percentage of students who show proficiency on the PARCC exam will likely be lower than the percentage of students who met and exceeded standards on the previous state assessments.  Lower test scores do not necessarily mean that schools are performing worse or that students are learning less.  Similarly, a drop in student proficiency scores does not necessarily reflect a drop in performance.  It is rather a reflection of the higher standards Illinois adopted to ensure students achieve college and career readiness.  As with any change, there is a period of transition as teachers and students get used to the new standards and tests. We fully expect results to improve as teachers and students become familiar with the higher standards.

Reporting Pupil Progress

Student progress shall be reported to parents on an ongoing basis through regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences. Fall and spring parent-teacher conferences may be held on a flexible schedule. Each teacher will determine his or her own scheduling process. The homeroom teacher or teaching team shall meet with every student’s parent(s) sometime in the fall. The fall conference dates are posted on the District Calendar, but parents may schedule a conference any time on or before these dates.

The second conference may be scheduled during the spring conference dates (listed on the District Calendar), or any time after the fall conference. If both the teacher and parent(s) see no need for a conference at that time, the conference may be waived.

When a conference is scheduled and parent(s) are unavailable, the conference will be rescheduled at a mutually agreed upon time. Phone conferences are acceptable. Both parents and teachers have the right to ask for a conference at any time during the school year.

For first through fourth grade students, progress reports are given to parents of children prior to the fall conference. For children in kindergarten through fourth grade, progress reports are given to parents of children prior to the spring conference. For all kindergarten through fourth grade students, a final progress report is given to parents at the end of the school year.

For fifth through eighth grade students, a formal computer-generated report card is sent home with students three times during the school year. This report designates a letter grade for each subject. Parents of students in fifth through eighth grade may log onto their PowerSchool account to see information on their child’s academic progress. Parents are encouraged to contact the individual teachers whenever there is a question regarding a child’s progress.

Promotion

Promotion from eighth grade is contingent upon students having earned minimum passing grades and having demonstrated sufficient social and emotional growth and development or upon the best judgment of school authorities who determine that it is in the best interest of the child that promotion be granted. Minimum requirements are demonstrated by maintaining a 1.00 average in all core classes for all three terms of the school year. Also, students must pass the United States and Illinois State Constitution Tests.