Changes Lead to Increased Reading, Math Scores in VVSD: Kinder

Assistant superintendent attributes growth to staffing change, increased rigor, Common Core.

A staffing change is paying dividends at Valley View elementary schools, according to Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Rachel Kinder.

Kinder says data shows that students are making larger achievement gains since the district reduced the number of teacher's aides in favor of hiring more reading teachers.

In March 2013, the district made the decision to send reduction in force (RIF) notices to 142 teacher's aides; some of them were later recalled by the district. At the same time, Valley View began hiring additional reading teachers.

"The schools where we had that in place, we saw that it had a better impact on learning," Kinder said. "Instead of reading aides, each elementary school has certified reading teachers. We made that consistent in all of our buildings."

She said studentsscores on recent Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments show significant gains in both reading and math for grades K-8.

Kinder said learning rates have also increased for students enrolled in special education and bilingual education.

According to MAP test results, tier 3 students — those scoring in the 1st to 24th percentile — showed a 7 percent increase in the number of students meeting typical growth from fall 2012/winter 2013 to fall 2013/winter 2014. During the same time period, tier 2 students — those in the 25th to 49th percentile — showed the same increase in students hitting the mark, while tier 1 students in the 50th percentile and above showed an 11 percent increase in reaching typical achievement.

In math, 70 percent of tier 1 students in grades K-8 met typical growth, a 3 percent increase over the previous year. The number of tier 2 students hitting the  mark increased by 4 percent, and for tier 1 students, it was 13 percent.

Kinder explained that "typical growth" is the amount VVSD expects students to grow during one year of instruction. The computer-based MAP testing is administered in the fall, winter and spring.

In both reading and math, "the rate of growth has increased," Kinder said. In some cases, students made more progress from fall to winter this school year than they did during the entire previous school year, she said.

Kinder attributed the growth not only to the move from teacher's aides to certified reading teachers, but also to a more rigorous curriculum and the implementation of Common Core Standards.

"It's kind of everything coming together," she said.

Kinder noted that the MAP scores do show some areas of concern. While gains are being made overall, scores slipped in certain areas, such as tier 2 second-grade math and tier 2 and 3 seventh-grade math.

"Those are definitely on our radar," Kinder said.

Students enrolled in special education also showed gains, showing a 7 percent improvement in reading progress from last year to this year, and 9 percent overall progress in math.

Students in bilingual program had an 8 percent increase in reading scores and 4  percent increase in math scores overall.

Stand up and be heard Bolingbrook March 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM
Please understand what you just read. Report is for K - 8 and if you believe everything you read from VVSD your in trouble.
Sargent Rock March 29, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Strange - Just talked to a neighbor who has a relative working as a Para-pro at one of the Valley View Elementary Schools and it seems they are using their General Education Para-Pros to work with reading groups. Isn't that what "Quality over Quantity" was supposed to do away with, that is; Para-pro's working in the reading room as they were not Quality Staff. The certified reading teachers of whom there was only half as many were to handle what those Para-pros that were let go did. After all these were certified reading teachers and would be able to handle all the students that needed various types of help with their reading skills. So what gives, why the backtracking to what was and then boasting about what they did and how it was bringing up grade levels. Sounds like what they did isn't working without the help of those un-needed bodies with lots of experience but no certification (Para-pros).
Cirrock March 31, 2014 at 12:30 AM
This report is an outrage. There is no direct correlation to the removal of para pros and the MAP testing. Students and teachers are now a little more familiar with the test and are doing better. Kinder has no common sense!
Anything is Possible March 31, 2014 at 08:04 PM
Cirrock I am not so sure. While it is unfortunate that many parapros have lost their positions, I think there is something to be said for having a special education teacher in the classroom with a regular education teacher. Our kids are better for it. There are many great parapros, but they lack the specific training needed to help many of our kids. As for MAP, it is possible the kids are familiar with the test but there is data to support higher Map growth in classrooms with 2 teachers versus a classroom with 1 at least in the middle schools. I think the district is on to something here. I just wish we didn't have to lose such nice people in the process.


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