Thurgood Marshall School has the highest composite score in Illinois on 2017 state standardized tests. Students who are in the Gifted Academy in fifth through eighth grades at Marshall had the highest composite score of all public schools in Illinois when comparing other schools' fifth through eighth graders. Results are from the composite scores on the PARCC test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Marshall students increased their achievement scores year over year, as more students moved from the "met expectations" category into the "exceeded expectations" category, as defined by the PARCC:
The results are according to grade-level data from the Illinois Report Card. State report card data were released Oct. 31, and RPS 205 administrators disaggregated the data to compare apples to apples: grade levels instead of schools. School districts group various grade levels in "middle" or "elementary" school categories. That means it's not accurate to compare a K-8 school to a 6-8 school or 7-12 school, for example.
Other schools with top achievement are Edison Regional Gifted Center in Chicago, Keller Elementary Gifted Magnet School in Chicago, Iles School in Springfield, Skinner North Classical School in Chicago, and Daniel Wright Junior High School in Lincolnshire. Thurgood Marshall Elementary, which serves Gifted Academy students in first through fourth grades, is the sixth-highest performing elementary school when comparing composite scores by grade level on the 2017 PARCC.
How Marshall did it: Marshall students and staff use data from the MAP test – or Measures of Academic Progress – to measure growth, drive instruction and help students set personal growth goals. Students take the MAP three times each school year so a student knows where he or she is mastering a concept, and where more work is needed. Those MAP scores help predict a student's success on the PARCC, which students take each year in the spring.
"We are incredibly proud of our students and staff for this monumental achievement," said Thurgood Marshall School Principal Jill Faber. "Our students work hard every day with our dedicated teachers to continually show growth toward their academic goals. It's a great day to be a Mustang!"
"The credit here goes to the teachers and the work they do with students," said Thurgood Marshall Elementary Principal Jessica Powell. "Teachers prioritize collaboration and goal setting with students. These practices are critical to provide students success beyond grade-level curriculum and with students' own growth goals."
Marshall has used MAP data for five years to drive their instruction, while the rest of RPS 205 is in the second year. Administrators are hopeful the rest of the district mirrors the success in the Gifted Academy. "When you focus on individual student growth, it makes a difference for student outcomes," said Susan Fumo, Executive Director of School Improvement. "Now that we're using MAP in the rest of the district, we hope to see similar upward trends."
"Jill Faber and the staff at Marshall have worked hard to implement long-range goals for the program that include inquiry, perseverance, active learning and personalized student goals," said Heather Psaltis, Director of Special Programs. "The higher the starting point for students, the harder it is to demonstrate growth. The hard work shows – not only in these results, but through the daily work and progress of staff and students."
About the Gifted Academy: The Gifted Academy is one of many specialized programs in RPS 205. The program is open to all RPS 205 students, and students test into the program. The goal is to identify and nurture potential through the development of specialized curriculum modified and adapted to meet the unique learning styles, learning rates, interests, abilities and needs of gifted students. It's offered for students in first through 12th grades; students can take the test to qualify in kindergarten.
Reasons to consider the RPS 205 Gifted Academy:
- Your child has above average creativity, ability and task commitment.
- Your child shows higher academic ability.
- Your child is bored in school and easily completes work.
Eligibility Testing: Upcoming eligibility testing is at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, for students currently in grades K-3. Make-up testing is at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 14, for students currently in grades K-9. Summer testing is at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 21 for students currently in grades K-9. In addition to eligibility testing, all RPS 205 kindergarten students are screened for the Gifted Academy using the Naglieri NonVerbal Ability Test. This process takes place in October, November and December at all district elementary schools.
Students do not need to be enrolled in RPS 205 to participate in the eligibility test. Students may test annually for a seat in the program. Visit rps205.com for more information.