In 2017 68% of ICS 3rd graders scored proficient or higher in Math and 52% scored proficient or higher in English (ELA).
Our students’ overall performance compares favorably with other 3rd graders in District 13, where the proficiency rates were 54% in Math and 56% in English. We are particularly proud that performance gaps between income groups at ICS - around 9 points - are significantly lower than the 39-point average gap in D13 schools. At ICS, 64% of economically-disadvantaged students reached proficiency in math, and 47% reached proficiency in ELA — compared to 37% in math and 41% in ELA for their peers across D13.
Aaron Pallas, Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and a member of the ICS advisory board, has long been a critical thinker about state tests. Reviewing the results Aaron said, "No single test is an arbiter of the performance of a student, or of a school. But test performance can be combined with other indicators of how students and schools are performing. The state assessment results suggest that ICS is providing students with the literacy and math skills they will need to be successful in future years.”
Pallas continued, “I'm particularly impressed with how well the school's economically disadvantaged students are doing. In many schools, there are significant gaps in outcomes among different student groups. That's not true at ICS, where the outcomes for needier students are almost equivalent with their wealthier peers, and well above the citywide averages.”
As a diverse-by-design school, achieving equity in academic outcomes for our kids is a vital priority. We are pleased that our results indicate we are making solid progress against this goal.
It is important to note that our third graders’ ELA proficiency levels — while solid — are just a starting point. The results validate the power of our systematic phonics instruction and a coherent, content-rich curriculum, but the real benefits of this approach are cumulative. As students assemble a rich store of knowledge about the world, they draw upon it to make inferences, expand their vocabulary, and think critically about what they read. We expect our investment in building a deep foundation of background knowledge to pay dividends for years to come.
At the same time, we know can do even better in the short term — in both ELA and math — and we are focused on that work already. We have strengthened a number of professional practices this year – which are not necessarily visible – around how we design instruction and deliver lessons. For their part, families can make sure their children always have a book in hand, and that they speak regularly about their day, and what the adults in their lives are doing.
ICS wants to acknowledge our current 4th graders, who applied themselves diligently to a test that is mostly for the benefit of adults. And of course thank our third-grade team: Maggie Johnson, Qiong Lin, and Elizabeth Lipman, who work hard every day. We also want to acknowledge the 1st and 2nd grade teams who guided our students to this point, and now beyond. It takes a team, and we are honored to work with such strong and eager colleagues.
Our 2018 Annual Report & 2017-18 Accountability Plan Progress Report can be found below: