This year’s Illinois State School Report Cards generated a raft of tough headlines for the Rockford School District.
The percentage of the 28,370 students who met or exceeded state standards on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) was 17.5 percent, down from 19.1 percent the year before.
There were other numbers though that rose. Graduation rates increased from 65 percent to 67 percent and freshman-on-track-to-graduate percentages increased from 63 percent to 65.7 percent.
Two other numbers that pertain more to student well-being went unnoticed. The state began tracking the percentage of students who were homeless in the 2012-2013 school year and in 2016-2017 that number declined for the first time. It wasn’t huge, but it was a step in the right direction.
Year – percent homeless
2012-2013 – 4.8 percent
2013-2014 – 6.3 percent
2014-2015 – 6.8 percent
2015-2016 – 7.0 percent
2016-2017 – 6.7 percent
The second number which bears watching was District 205 low-income percentage. It showed a steep decline, from 58 percent to 51 percent. The state’s low-income percentage was 50.2 percent.
All studies show a strong correlation between income levels and test levels. If these improving economic numbers are the beginning of a trend and not an anomaly then test scores are likely to follow.