Curriculum and Assessment
Curriculum and Instruction
District 90 schools offer a comprehensive educational program for elementary school students through Grade 8. In addition to a core curriculum aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards, our schools offer exploratory courses and extracurricular activities to enrich the educational experience. More detailed information on the curriculum objectives for each grade level and subject area will be published soon in our Curriculum Fundamentals brochure, which will be updated for 2010-11 and available here.
District 90 reviews several portions of the entire curriculum each year. During 2010-11, the District will review the following curricula:
- Reading/Writing, K-8
- Library: Research and Media, K-8
- Reading Strategies across Curriculum
- Vocabulary Study
- Grammar, 6-8
- Communication Skills, K-8
- French, 5-8
To see a PDF of the curriculum review cycle for 2007 through 2018, click here.
District 90 is committed to differentiated instruction. What exactly does that mean? Differentiation expert Carol Ann Tomlinson, writing in The Education Digest, provides a succinct description: "In differentiated instruction, classroom teachers make vigorous attempts to meet students where they are in the learning process and move them along as quickly and as far as possible in the context of a mixed-ability classroom. It promotes a high-level, powerful curriculum for all students, but varies the level of teacher support, task complexity, pacing, and avenues to learning based on student readiness, interest, and learning profile....Differentiated instruction is not a strategy. It is a total way of thinking about learners, teaching, and learning."
Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention, or RtI, is a federal and state initiative to provide students with the help they need to be successful as early as possible.
RtI uses a problem-solving model to focus on improving student performance. Staff members work together to identify whether a problem exists, analyze why the problem is occurring, develop and implement research-based interventions, and evaluate whether the interventions were successful.
Students are identified for RtI through a variety of formal and informal means, including Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing; grade-level, research-based assessments; teacher observations and team concerns; and parent concerns.
RtI is organized as a three-tiered model that uses increasingly intense interventions for each tier; staff members use data to monitor a student's progress and evaluate whether an intervention has been successful. The three tiers of RtI are as follows:
- Tier I: The first tier of intervention begins with good differentiation—the academic and behavioral strategies that teachers use in the regular classroom at the first sign a student is having difficulty.
- Tier II: A student moves to tier II when progress monitoring shows that a student has made insufficient progress in a specific area of the curriculum, despite differentiation. The intervention is research-based and occurs within the academic setting, implemented by the classroom teacher and/or other resource personnel, for instance, the reading specialist.
- Tier III: If further data shows that the student continues to lack progress, a more intense approach may be recommended for the identified need, for instance, increased academic or social support, a new intervention, or increased time. Tier III may include services available under the special education model.
District 90 uses a variety of measures to chart students' academic progress. Please keep in mind that no single test can give a full picture of a student's knowledge and skills; each test that we use provides one part of the whole picture. Together, the tests offer patterns and insights to a child's profile and aid our efforts in guiding progress.
The following is a brief overview of the assessments that District 90 uses. For a more thorough guide, download the River Forest District 90 Assessment Information brochure by clicking here.
The Northwest Evaluation Association publishes Parent Toolkit: A Guide to NWEA Assessments, an excellent brochure that answers many common questions about MAP testing. To download a PDF of the brochure, click here.
- DIBELS (The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills): Give in August/September, January, and April to Grades K-2. Measures the acquisition of early literacy skills, including phonological awareness, alphabetic principle, fluency with connected text, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- Rigby Benchmarking: Given in August/September, January, and April to Grades K-2. Rigby Running Record measures a student's reading level in terms of fluency, comprehension, and ability to read with accuracy.
- MAP (Measures of Academic Progress): Given in September and April; Grades 2-8 are tested in reading and math, and Grades 6-8 also are tested in science. Students take these tests on a computer, and the questions are customized; each question automatically adjusts to the child's level of learning based on the child's responses.
- CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test): Given in January to Grades 2-8. Measures students' learned, rather than innate, reasoning, as well as problem-solving skills in three areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal.
- ISAT (Illinois Standards Achievement Test): Given in March. Grades 3-8 are tested in reading and math; Grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 are tested in writing; and Grades 4 and 7 are tested in science. Required by law, the ISAT measures individual student achievement relative to the Illinois Learning Standards.
Illinois District Report Card
State and federal law requires public school districts to release state report cards each year. The report cards provide such information as demographics, teacher ratios, and finances, as well as ISAT results for each grade level and subgroup. Click on the links below to download PDFs for each report card:
To go to the website for the Interactive Illinois Report Card, which contains a wealth of information on Illinois schools and school improvement, click here.
Click here to visit the website of the Illinois State Board of Education.