By NICK MARIANO
MT. VERNON —
For the sixth consecutive year, the Mt. Vernon Township High School District failed to meet adequate yearly progress as required by the No Child Left Behind Act and remains on the state’s academic watch list, according to the district’s 2012 Illinois State Board of Education Report Card.
The district is hardly alone, statewide assessments also show.
In addition, the district will continue its federal improvement status for corrective action for at least a fourth year under the federal act of 2001 for student performance progress, according to the report card.
With a target of 92.5 percent of students tested meeting or exceeding test standards in reading and math, district test scores showed 51 percent of students met or exceeded standards in reading and 50.7 percent in math.
According to information from the Illinois Interactive Report Card website, schools on the state’s academic watch status have failed to make adequate yearly progress for four years and are eligible for additional state sanctions, including a possible state takeover of the district if improvement is not made.
Furthermore, classified as needing corrective action under federal guidelines, the district is required to work with external experts to improve, according to the IIRC.
Meeting the ever increasing No Child Left Behind thresholds has given the district plenty of company across the state, however.
For instance, in 2004, the threshold was 40 percent. That year, the district surpassed the threshold with 59 percent meeting or exceeding standards in reading and 43 percent doing so in math. The number of Illinois school districts that also satisfied AYP requirements was 551. Districts that did not totaled 242.
Today, the threshold is 92.5 percent and the number of districts meeting or failing the AYP have been reversed from eight years ago as the threshold has increased.
In 2012, the number of districts that failed to meet the standards is 433, compared to 152 that did. In 2014, the threshold increases to 100 percent.
For MVTHS, the percent of students meeting or exceeding testing standards have gone up and down since 2004 in both reading and math.
The district’s best year in reading was 2005, when 64 percent of students tested above the threshold of 47.5 percent that year. However, that percentage dropped to 50 percent the next year and then dropped again to 46 the following year.
Math results bounced around as well with the lowest score of 37 percent coming in 2009 and 2010 and the highest of 51.1 percent tallied in 2005.
In other test assessments, the district has consistently trailed the rest of the state in the percent of students meeting or exceeding standards on the Prairie State Acievement Examination, which combines a variety of tests including the ACT for students in grade 11.
In 2012, the percent of Mt. Vernon students meeting or exceeding the PSAE is 45 percent, compared to the state percentage of 51 percent.
The biggest gap between the two occurred in 2007, when Mt. Vernon came in with 38 percent compared to the state score of 53 percent. The district did outpace the state once in 2005, with 57 percent locally compared to 55 percent statewide.
The vast majority of Mt. Vernon students taking the ACT are not college ready, according to the report card. English is the only area the majority of students — 56 percent — is prepared. In science, 20 percent are ready; math, 31 percent, and reading, 36 percent.
Looking at student demographics, the percent of students considered living in low-income conditions dramatically increased from 10 years ago when 15.3 percent of students were classified as low-income. Today, that percentage is 47.6 percent.
The state percentage for low-income students also increased in the same time span but not as dramatically, going from 37.5 percent in 2002 to 49 percent in 2012.