District 203 School Board hears report on state assessment testing, passes annual budget

Benway headshotO’FALLON – Superintendent Darcy Benway reported on problems she has observed with a new statewide student performance test during her report at the District 203 Board of Education meeting Thursday night.
A recent report as shown dismal results on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment test across the state. It is important to note that the the only issued scores come from tests administered electronically, and that OTHS administered the test with pencil and paper.
Benway said that after looking at the data, she has some serious questions about the PARCC test and what these preliminary results actually mean.
“What is staggering to me is that zero percent of students in Illinois, of the 75 percent or so of reported scores, that zero percent exceed standards. We have kids here that get 36, a perfect score on their ACT exams, and perfect scores on their SAT exams, but you’re going to tell me that there’s not one student in the entire state of Illinois that exceeds standards? Is there a problem with public schools or a problem with the PARCC test as its being presented,” Benway said.
“Is this PARCC test really aligned to where students are in their education at the time its administered. I hope that’s something educators and legislators look into.”
Benway takes exception to any implication that schools and teachers have underserved the students of District 203 based on the results of the PARCC exam.
“You get an article or a headline that implies that our schools are failing, I will adamantly show you our ACT scores and the colleges our kids can get into, and I will refute that every time,” Benway said.
In other business, the Board of Education approved their annual budget for next year. Benway said the district has budgeted within its means.
“OTHS budgets conservatively, so we tend to budget our revenues a little lower than expected. We never know if the state is going to cut something throughout the year. We budget our expenditures a little bit higher than expected as well. So our actual performance has always significantly beaten our budget,” she explained.