More members of the Riverside Brookfield High School Class of 2023 met the College Board’s college readiness standards than the previous year’s graduating class according to performance data presented by administrators at the Oct. 10 meeting of the Riverside Brookfield Township High School District 208 school board.

More than three-quarters of the members of the Class of 2023 who began high school as freshman at RBHS met or exceeded the 480 score on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing portion of the SAT that the College Board considers the benchmark for college readiness. That’s a slight increase from the 71% of students who met or exceeded the benchmark last year. It’s in line with the results for 2021 seniors at 75% and for 2020 at 76%.

In math, 59% of the RBHS seniors who began at RBHS as freshmen scored at or above 530 on the math portion of the SAT last year, the College Board’s readiness benchmark in math. That’s an increase from 50% of students in 2022, and two percentage points higher than in 2021. But it’s below 2020’s performance, where 63% tested at or above expectations.

School board member Laura Hruska pointed out that the data only comes from about 75% of the senior class because it excludes students who transferred into RBHS. Hruska said that makes the data misleading.

“It doesn’t give an accurate picture,” Hruska said.

Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction Kylie Lindquist explained that the data excludes transfer students because the administration is trying to measure the effectiveness of instruction at RBHS and wants to measure the growth in learning among students who have been at RBHS for their entire high school experience. Board member Ryan VenHorst eventually became a bit exasperated with Hruska’s persistent claim that the data was incomplete.

“It gives an accurate picture of what we asked for,” VenHorst said.

The data showed that 29% of the members of the Class of 2023 met the expected growth target, how much student scores improved from their results on the STAR test they took in eighth grade, in ERW but did not meet the college readiness because they entered high school below the expected level. That’s a small increase from 2022 (26 %) but a large increase from 2021 and 2020 (14%in both years).

In math, 35% of students met the expected growth level but did not meet the college readiness standard. Those numbers increased from 25% in 2022, 29% in 2021, and 22%in 2020, indicating that RBHS is doing a better job with below-grade-level students.

The report outlined action steps taken at RBHS to boost student performance, including adding more reading intervention for freshman and sophomores, literacy support for co-taught classes, algebra support for targeted freshmen and targeted pull-outs from other classes for added instruction in English, and math help for students who enter RBHS with below benchmark scores. RBHS is now also offering a free SAT test preparation class for those who score below benchmark on the PSAT test taken in the sophomore year.

For graduation rates, the data showed that nearly 97% of those who just completed their freshman year at RBHS were on track to graduate in four years. The state considers freshmen on track if they complete their freshman year without failing more than one semester in a core class. That figure is a slight increase from previous years. 

But board member Lorena Gasca downplayed the significance of the freshmen on track metric noting that a student could considered on track even if that student got all Ds as a freshman.

“We would be naïve to believe that on track means that they are college or career ready,” Gasca said.