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Old 01-26-2015, 07:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
Thanks for the link, that is very useful. And you are right there do appear to be a number of standout elementary schools in the area but beyond elementary we still struggle to find a combination of similarly high performing schools K-12 outside of Hinsdale. For example, when I look at Wheaton there appears to be a considerable dropoff from Hinsdale Middle/Hinsdale Central to Franklin Middle/Wheaton North. The north shore appears to provide a similar combination of high performing schools as Hinsdale but is not an option due to even greater cost and poor location (for work).

I don't know, maybe I'm making too much of the schools but of course just like anyone else we want the best for our children.
Well fwiw, non-low income students at Franklin Middle earned an 86% on the 2014 ISAT. The same demographic scored 91% at Clarendon Middle and 90% at Hinsdale Middle. So the like for like numbers aren't too far off. Similar story for the middle schools in Elmhurst, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn and La Grange. As for Wheaton North's 2014 PSAE, the non-low income demographic earned an 84%, while the same group at Hinsdale Central earned a 91%. A little larger spread, but Wheaton's numbers are still nothing to worry about. For comparison, non-low income kids scored a 78% at Glenbard West, 83% at York, 83% at Lyons, and 84% at Downers North.

You certainly can't go wrong staying put, but I don't think you'd have anything to worry about with any of the other schools in question either.

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 01-26-2015 at 07:26 AM..
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:24 AM
 
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Default The link between high performing schools and parents that can afford costly homes...

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Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
I suppose parts of Western Springs and Clarendon Hills are the closest in terms of performance K-12 within the western burbs but I really don't see much, if any, difference in real estate prices in those areas (at least with our budget). I guess you get what you pay for...
... is extremely well established. Especially when you look at the whole experience from K-12 the housing values in a handful of pricey towns really set the bar.

The thing too is that given the fact that the relative difficulty of Illinois state mandated is so low it is even more of an indictment of just how crummy some schools are. Even if you adjust for low income there are an awful lot of schools with a disappointingly large percentage of students that are NOT "meeting or exceeding" the weak standards in many town when you look at the whole range of elementary / middle / high schools. I suppose there are those that will try to make some claim about this being "more like real life" or some kind of "diverse" range of students but neither of these arguments really hold water -- if a good college / career that enable kids to eventually support themselves is the goal there is no evidence that having lots of under-performing classmates helps in achieving that end. I mean all one has to do is look at the data from the 100% selective admissions schools that are part of the CPS magnet program and compare the attainment of those kids to kids across the city in these so-called "diverse" schools...
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
Well, this is precisely why I recommend using the Illinois Report Card site. All the data is there, past and present, and you can dig deeper. Unlike GreatSchools, SchoolDigger, Niche, et al. which simply encourage you to swallow a rating.
Well I agree in theory... As I said there are powerful ways to dig into the data. But even on THIS forum where people are very educated about the area schools there is a heavy focus on the ISAT% and it is used as a marker of elite schools rather than a marker of "academic depth" at a particular school. So you can imagine other parents who aren't as into this stuff just superficially looking at the isaat% as some type of grade or score.

Thanks for breaking it down for that list of schools. When talking about top performing schools in wealthy town, I am not surprised that there is a strong correlation between exceeds expectations and high overall ISAT (aka that the list didn't change much). But my hypothesis would be that as you move down into the "great" and "very good" schools instead of the "top notch" schools, there will be many instances of divergence, where high ISAT % does not have as many exceeds expectations as some other schools with lower isat%. And as Chet mentioned, I think a big driver of this would be weak standards which Could allow a large number of students to just squeak by without excelling. Unfortunately I don't have time to do that analysis
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
Well fwiw, non-low income students at Franklin Middle earned an 86% on the 2014 ISAT. The same demographic scored 91% at Clarendon Middle and 90% at Hinsdale Middle. So the like for like numbers aren't too far off. Similar story for the middle schools in Elmhurst, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn and La Grange. As for Wheaton North's 2014 PSAE, the non-low income demographic earned an 84%, while the same group at Hinsdale Central earned a 91%. A little larger spread, but Wheaton's numbers are still nothing to worry about. For comparison, non-low income kids scored a 78% at Glenbard West, 83% at York, 83% at Lyons, and 84% at Downers North.

You certainly can't go wrong staying put, but I don't think you'd have anything to worry about with any of the other schools in question either.
I know what you are saying but I am not sure it's fair to completely dismiss the low income subgroup. If anything, wouldn't measuring a school's ability to reach the low income students be a better gauge of performance and overall effectiveness than isolating the results of the non-low income group?

For example, while the 2014 ISAT Reading component came in at 90% for Hinsdale Middle, it also achieved a 74% for the low income subgroup. Compare this to Franklin Middle which came in at 40% for the low income subgroup. That is a much wider achievement gap and cause for some slight concern.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:43 PM
 
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Default Slicing and dicing leads to all kinds of data that may not reflect reality...

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Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
I know what you are saying but I am not sure it's fair to completely dismiss the low income subgroup. If anything, wouldn't measuring a school's ability to reach the low income students be a better gauge of performance and overall effectiveness than isolating the results of the non-low income group?

For example, while the 2014 ISAT Reading component came in at 90% for Hinsdale Middle, it also achieved a 74% for the low income subgroup. Compare this to Franklin Middle which came in at 40% for the low income subgroup. That is a much wider achievement gap and cause for some slight concern.
My kids graduated from the D181 elementary school that, at the time, hard the largest absolute number of low income kids. That still amounted to literally just a handful of students, mostly in the more affordable older apartment and smaller rental homes. The relative "success" that those kids had in mastering the required material was probably a function of the fact that there sufficient resources to give these kids the extra help that helped them overcome any shortcomings.

I suspect that schools where there are more than just a handful of kids are forced to alter the way they deliver services to not just the lowest income student but also those from affluent families that may have other kinds of needs. I am not intimately familiar with the Wheaton schools but I do suspect more than few of the low income families are literally refugees from non-English speaking countries and as such the resources that those kids may need could very well be quite different than those needed by kids whose folks that might make their living working in the prep kitchens of Oak Brook hotels or other situations...

As more of the lower cost homes in nicer towns get torn down and replaced with costly new construction it alters the resources available to the district while literally eliminating the most needy families...
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
My kids graduated from the D181 elementary school that, at the time, hard the largest absolute number of low income kids. That still amounted to literally just a handful of students, mostly in the more affordable older apartment and smaller rental homes. The relative "success" that those kids had in mastering the required material was probably a function of the fact that there sufficient resources to give these kids the extra help that helped them overcome any shortcomings.

I suspect that schools where there are more than just a handful of kids are forced to alter the way they deliver services to not just the lowest income student but also those from affluent families that may have other kinds of needs. I am not intimately familiar with the Wheaton schools but I do suspect more than few of the low income families are literally refugees from non-English speaking countries and as such the resources that those kids may need could very well be quite different than those needed by kids whose folks that might make their living working in the prep kitchens of Oak Brook hotels or other situations...

As more of the lower cost homes in nicer towns get torn down and replaced with costly new construction it alters the resources available to the district while literally eliminating the most needy families...
No doubt there are a number of variables involved in the numbers but my point is that I don't think it is wise to simply throw out the low income subgroup as it seems many have done here in review of threads on this subject matter.
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Old 01-28-2015, 04:00 AM
 
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It's not throwing anything out. It's making a fair comparison.

As low income enrollment increases at any given high school, a measured decrease in that school's cumulative PSAE score can be expected:



That's easy to understand, because low income students tend to not perform as well on standardized tests. The more of them you add to the mix, the more they will dilute the average of the non-low income group. Now, given this effect and the wide-range of low income enrollments found in suburban schools, how do we then compare a school with no low income students to another with some low income students? The answer is simple. We isolate and assess the only group that is present in large numbers at both schools: the non-low income students. What you're left with is an apples-to-apples comparison and a PSAE score distribution that is much tighter -- at least among high schools in so-called "desirable" towns:



What are the implications of all this nonsense I'm spewing? If someone is a well-off parent with a stable home, they can probably expect a similar outcome for their little snowflake at any number of high schools. That and tacking extra 000's to the end of a home price to get into that "top" district might not be all it's cracked up to be...

As a side note, I think the spread on the bottom histogram (ie, the spread of PSAE scores among non-low income students at different suburban schools) is not the result of students or teachers being intrinsically different at the different schools, but instead due to increasing amounts of parental "involvement" as you move towards the top-end. In other words, if a parent is gonna put undue expectations on a child and push them to the academic brink, that child will (likely) do equally well (or close to equally well) at a New Trier as they would at, say, a Lake Park. Obviously this last point is speculative opinion and not so easily demonstrated... just an IMO.

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 01-28-2015 at 05:30 AM..
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
The link between high performing schools and parents that can afford costly homes... ...is extremely well established. Especially when you look at the whole experience from K-12 the housing values in a handful of pricey towns really set the bar.
Maybe among the top 1%, but not necessarily elsewhere. Western Springs, La Grange and Elmhurst are all more costly than Wheaton, yet Wheaton's school set performs identically to theirs. No slicing or dicing needed. The contrast is even more stark when you look out towards the Fox River, where homes are exceedingly affordable and schools still perform at a level similar to the first three towns mentioned. Obviously this is because home values are quite complex, and not just based on school quality but a host of other factors, most notably being proximity to Chicago.

Similarly, owning a costly home doesn't always translate to affording that costly home. With reference to the above comparison, Western Springs, La Grange and Elmhurst are certainly more costly than Wheaton, yet many census tracts in Wheaton have higher median incomes than tracts in the other three towns:



(Made using City-Data's very own heat-mapping tool.)

So who are the "parents that can afford costly homes?" It's not just the ones who have costly homes. Again, the story is a lot more complex...

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 01-28-2015 at 06:24 AM..
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
It's not throwing anything out. It's making a fair comparison.

As low income enrollment increases at any given high school, a measured decrease in that school's cumulative PSAE score can be expected:



That's easy to understand, because low income students tend to not perform as well on standardized tests. The more of them you add to the mix, the more they will dilute the average of the non-low income group. Now, given this effect and the wide-range of low income enrollments found in suburban schools, how do we then compare a school with no low income students to another with some low income students? The answer is simple. We isolate and assess the only group that is present in large numbers at both schools: the non-low income students. What you're left with is an apples-to-apples comparison and a PSAE score distribution that is much tighter -- at least among high schools in so-called "desirable" towns:



What are the implications of all this nonsense I'm spewing? If someone is a well-off parent with a stable home, they can probably expect a similar outcome for their little snowflake at any number of high schools. That and tacking extra 000's to the end of a home price to get into that "top" district might not be all it's cracked up to be...

As a side note, I think the spread on the bottom histogram (ie, the spread of PSAE scores among non-low income students at different suburban schools) is not the result of students or teachers being intrinsically different at the different schools, but instead due to increasing amounts of parental "involvement" as you move towards the top-end. In other words, if a parent is gonna put undue expectations on a child and push them to the academic brink, that child will (likely) do equally well (or close to equally well) at a New Trier as they would at, say, a Lake Park. Obviously this last point is speculative opinion and not so easily demonstrated... just an IMO.
But if you are going to isolate subgroups then why not also compare low income to low income groups in the comparisons as well rather than just non-low income to non-low income? I think comparing one without the other can be disceptive
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
But if you are going to isolate subgroups then why not also compare low income to low income groups in the comparisons as well rather than just non-low income to non-low income? I think comparing one without the other can be disceptive
1.) Because I'm assuming you're not a low income parent. That information wouldn't exactly be relevant to your experience.

2.) Low income students are a much less homogeneous crowd, making comparisons more difficult. Think back to Chet's Oak Brook kitchen worker versus Wheaton refugee example.

3.) It's much easier for a school to deal with, say, 40 low-income students (like at Hinsdale Central) than it is to deal with, say, 110 low income students (like at York). Especially when the resources to deal with such students are relatively constant. At schools with an exceedingly low number of low income students, they can probably be expected to perform much better.

You can certainly look at the figures alongside the ones I provided... and they might actually be helpful for a low income family on the move. But there is no reason to call subgroup comparisons deceptive. The only deceptive statistic floated around is cumulative standardized test scores. Comparing cumulative scores assumes normal distributions among schools, and they don't exist in reality. I just wish the ISBE realized that and published the headline numbers differently...

Maybe this will help illustrate the point that I think most folks are missing:


Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 01-28-2015 at 07:45 AM..
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