Thornton Fractional South High School represents a diverse school building in the South Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We consist of a traditional 9th through 12th grade building with the exception of busing students to the District 215 Tech Center for vocational classes. We share these resources with our sister school TF North. Although we consistently outperform TFN, we are behind the state averages on both the ACT and the PSAE. On the ACT, we are below the state average on the composite score as well as on all three recorded sub-categories. We were closest to the state average in Science and the furthest in Reading. As for the PSAE test to measure those students meeting and exceeding standards, we are again behind the state average. TFS averaged 40.5% of students tested to meet or exceed standards. Meanwhile, the State of Illinois average was 53%. Currently, we are on the Academic Watch Status year 2. We were unable to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or the Safe Harbor Target Goal for Reading and Mathematics which are the two target areas. Our goal as a school is to reach the AYP and attempt to reach and exceed the state averages on the ACT and PSAE.
Numbers can be deceiving and at the same time provide a close analysis of the data which can yield valuable information. As identified in the chart above Thornton Fractional South High School is performing below average as compared to the Illinois State averages for both the ACT and PSAE. However, when broken down by demographics there is another story that becomes abundantly clear. Some of our students are performing well on the state tests while others are fairing very poorly. The White demographic in our building is performing significantly better than either the Black or the Hispanic demographic. On the PSAE Reading, Whites are meeting or exceeding standards at 66.3%, Mathematics at 64.4% and Science at 58.4%, all of which are near or above the state averages. In contrast, Blacks are meeting or exceeding standards in Reading at 27.6%, Mathematics at 20.4% and Science at 19.7%. Hispanics are meeting or exceeding standards in Reading at 41.1%. Mathematics at 39.3% and Science at 29.9%. The gap between the Black demographic and their Hispanic and White counterparts is alarming in all three subject matters. I am going to focus on the Black demographic in attempt to find strategies to improve reading comprehension within my English 10 classes in order to prepare them for the PSAE and ACT tests next year.
The focus of my work is going to be on the African-American population at Thornton Fractional South High School. As indicated in the above chart and preceding explanations the Black demographic is scoring well below its White counterparts. Our staff was recently told in our professional development that our district has been cited by the Illinois State Board of Education for the under achievement of African-Americans on the PSAE, the excessive suspension rate of...