Analysis shows Butler District 53 strengths, weaknesses
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:44AM
Though they are aware it is one of the state’s top school districts, the Butler District 53 School Board wanted to know how they compare to their peers.
And so, the district has sought the help of Clayton Graham of Advantage Analytics, LLC to crunch some numbers while providing specific data about each grade level and class as they work their way through District 53.
Graham’s presentation to the School Board last week confirmed the district is right at the top in the state when compared to 27 other “benchmark,” districts, but showed a few areas for improvement.
The board was pleased that Butler 53 ranked second only behind Lincolnshire-Prairieview District 103 in the state’s top performing districts in 2011.
“You do so many things right,” Graham said. “Some things you don’t like to see, but you’re second in the state. The longer you are in Butler, the better the students do.”
Graham’s raw data was based off Illinois Standards Achievement Test scores obtained from the State Board of Education. The scores were, “re-indexed,” to be manipulated statistically and accurately when compared throughout the state.
Concerns was raised when it was revealed seventh grade science in District 53 ranked 10th and seventh grade math ranked eighth in their comparisons with the other state districts, while in most other subjects and grade levels, Butler was consistently in the top five.
“We will ask our administrative team to discuss these results with our teachers,” Superintendent Sandra Martin said. “Through their insights, we will be in a better position to address the issues that surface. We will also take a look at the practices of districts who are outperforming us at these two grade levels.”
The average rank in reading and mathematics by grade level showed a decline when students entered fourth grade and a slight decline when students entered seventh grade. The factors leading to those declines are unknown, but it’s something the board is interested in finding out.
“In my opinion, I feel there is some meaningful data in the fourth grade,” board member Hitesh Patel said. “What is it we’re doing in second and third grade to get them prepared for fourth? Something happened to that class.”
The question is where to find the answers to the decline. Martin said the district will partner with teachers to review the data and see how they can improve.
“This is not about blaming,” Patel said. “We have all these number one and two rankings, but where are we weak? We found something and now we have to go back to the drawing board and see what are the reasons.”