Freshmen in Rockford schools beat state average in ‘on track’ to graduate

Online Staff Report

New data from the Illinois State Board of Education show Rockford Public Schools (RPS 205) students are performing better than the state average when measuring students who are on track to graduate.

The State Board released results from the annual standardized tests Oct. 31. RPS 205 released its own scores Oct. 28. This “freshmen on track” measurement is new to the 2014 annual report card. To be considered on track, a student must have earned at least five full-year course credits and have earned no more than one semester “F” in a core course — English, math, science or social science — by the end of his or her freshman year.

All four RPS 205 high schools are above the state average of 87.4 percent, according to information the Illinois State Board of Education released Oct. 31. Following is a look at Winnebago County high schools and their “freshmen on track” percentages:

Pecatonica — 100

Winnebago — 96.7

Rockford Guilford — 94.1

Rockton Hononegah — 92.9

Durand — 92.1

Rockford Jefferson — 91.9

Rockford Auburn — 91.5

Rockford East — 90.7

South Beloit — 89

Machesney Park Harlem — 87.7

With the new High School Academy model, RPS 205 students start their high school experience in the Freshman Academy, which provides additional support and lays the groundwork for success. District leaders have also added mandatory tutoring to ensure students’ success.

Administrators will continue to support freshmen and watch this measure closely. A student’s freshman year is a solid indicator of how he or she will perform through the rest of high school — and whether he or she will graduate ready for the workforce or college. The Illinois State Board of Education says an on-track student is almost four times as likely to graduate from high school.

The measure could help boost graduation rates, an area in which RPS 205 is seeing growth. The 2014 graduation rate was 67.5 percent, compared to 64 percent in 2013 and 62 percent in 2012.

Posted Oct. 31, 2014

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