The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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How North standardized test scores have evolved over time

Max Fang

Test scores, while not a complete picture, are one of the most quantifiable indicators of academic success for a student and their school as a whole. Students with higher standardized test scores are often more likely to be accepted into colleges and receive scholarships. Similarly, the test scores of a school can be used to quantify how well that school is preparing its students for college and life after high school.

With test scores nationwide experiencing a significant decline following the COVID-19 pandemic, these scores have come under increased scrutiny, including in District 303.

Illinois Report Card, a measurement of school performance created by the Illinois State Board of Education, defines four performance levels for the SAT. These are “partially meets standards,” “approaching standards,” “meets standards” and “exceeds standards.” 

In ELA, a score of 200-420 partially meets standards, a score of 430-530 is approaching standards, a score of 540-630 meets standards and a score of 640-800 exceeds standards.

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Max Fang

In 2023, the average ELA score of North students taking the SAT was 534.4. 17.8% of North students were in the exceeds standards level for ELA, 32.3% were at the meets standards level for ELA, 32.1% were approaching standards and 17.8% of students partially met standards. This means that 50.1% of North students scored at the state standard of 540 or higher on the ELA section of the SAT and 49.9% scored lower than this standard.

North has a higher percentage of students exceeding and meeting standards than the state as a whole. In 2023, only 31.6% of all Illinois students scored at or above the state standard SAT.

North ELA scores in 2023 were very similar to those in 2022, but significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Since 2017, a greater percentage of students have failed to meet Illinois state standards each year. Only 35.3% of students scored less than the state standard in 2017. By 2019, this number was 42.7%. When standardized testing resumed after shutdowns in 2021, the percentage had risen again to 45.9%. In 2022, 50.1% of North students scored lower than the state standard.

The state as a whole has experienced this downward trend in ELA scores. 60.2% of Illinois students in 2017 did not meet the state standard compared to 68.4% in 2023.

Max Fang

In Math, a score of 200-440 partially meets standards, 450-530 is approaching standards, 540-660 meets standards, and 670-800 exceeds standards.

The average Math score of North students who took the SAT in 2023 was 544.3. 21.1% of North students who took the SAT in 2023 partially met standards, 26.8% were approaching standards, 37.4% met standards and 14.8% exceeded standards.

Like in ELA, North had more students at or above standards than Illinois as a whole with 26.7% of all Illinois students meeting standards in the math section in 2023, compared to 52% of North students. However, there was a greater number of North students below standards than any year since 2017, when the current Illinois standards for SAT scores were set. This trend is also present in Illinois as a whole.

All North students also take the Illinois Science Assessment, which students enrolled in Illinois public schools take in grades 5, 8 and 11.

Max Fang

67.2% of North students were either “proficient” or “exemplary” on the assessment in 2023, which marks a decrease from 74.5% in 2022. However, this is not a long-term trend of decreasing scores as seen in ELA and Math scores. In 2021, only 54.5% of North students were proficient or exemplary. Before 2021, students were only marked as “proficient” or “not proficient” on the Science Assessment, but the percentages of students achieving proficiency on the assessment between 2017 and 2019 were all lower than the percentage marked as either proficient or exemplary in 2023.

The District 303 School Board noted other areas of academic achievement in their 2023 Student Achievement Report. The SAR notes that current juniors, sophomores, freshmen, and third graders were the grades most affected by COVID-19 in District 303.

According to the report, significantly fewer students in the class of 2025 had a B or higher GPA than any other cohort. However, the majority of the class of 2025 students met priority standards in Geometry in 2023, which was an area of concern.

The SAR lists the class of 2026 as the most affected by the pandemic. The report notes that the majority of the class of 2026 students struggled with mastering important standards for Algebra I and that a lower-than-expected percentage of students received a B or higher GPA at 62%.

The class of 2027 continued to see academic growth in 2023, with the majority of students reaching grade-level standards last year.

“Our current freshman class demonstrated significant growth [in 2023], especially in language arts,” said Shanna Lewis, principal.

To address falling SAT scores, District 303 has emphasized reducing chronic absenteeism, which has risen dramatically at North in recent years. 31% of North students missed 10% or more of all school days in 2023, compared to only 6.8% in 2021.

“We’re starting to look at proactive things with regard to attendance, and that’s absolutely going to take a partnership with parents,” said Lewis.

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About the Contributors
Tyler Moore, Editor In Chief
Tyler Moore is the editor-in-chief for the Stargazer. He is a senior at North, and this is his third year on the staff. Tyler engages in student journalism because it helps him engage in events at North and talk to new people.
Max Fang, Video News Editor
Max is a senior, and this is his second year on staff. This year Max is serving as our Video News Editor. Max engages in student journalism because it keeps him connected with what's going on at North and allows him to pursue a passion for video making.

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