St. Benedict Prep Students Continue to Excel on ASPIRE Assessments  

In April 2019, elementary schools across the Archdiocese of Chicago administered the ACT Aspire Summative Test to all students in grades 3-8. The ACT Aspire assesses students’ academic proficiency in five academic areas: English, Reading, Math, Science and Writing.

 St. Benedict faculty and administration are pleased with the collective performance of all students as reflected in this fourth administration of the ACT Aspire test. This year’s results demonstrate that we consistently perform at the “Ready” or “Exceeds” levels.

Students completed the exam over four mornings at their schools. ACT Aspire is aligned to the rigorous curriculum standards that inform classroom instruction in all classrooms across the Archdiocese. Test questions integrate many different skills and vary in depth of knowledge and critical thinking. As students advance in grade levels, questions require greater depth of knowledge and higher-order of thinking skills.


The scores reflect knowledge and skills across grades, an evolving picture of student growth. Teachers receive a variety of reports that provide many levels of data on group progress, as well as individual student growth. The data the school receives also provides longitudinal growth indicators.

Since the Aspire Assessment is aligned with the more commonly known ACT Test students take for college admissions, the test also can provide some indicators regarding student college readiness, progress with text complexity, and STEM skills. This actionable data enables our faculty to address students’ strengths, areas for improvement, and student potential.

 While it is interesting to note the national average for each subject level test, it is most important to acknowledge the performance level of students in relationship to the ACT Aspire benchmark for the grade level.  

 How to Read the Aspire Achievement Report:  

  • Aspire Benchmark: This numeric score indicates the benchmark that indicates grade-level proficiency. 

  • AOC Average: This numeric score reflects the average score across the approximately 23,000 students who tested in the Archdiocese.  

  • National Average: This numeric score reflects the average score for all students nationwide who took the ACT Aspire in the spring of 2019.  

  • Readiness Level: Scores for each subject test area reflect the average performance of all students in this grade level categorized in one of the following levels: Exceeding, Ready, Close or In Need of Support.  

  • SBPS Average/Level: the average of students tested in this grade. This average includes all students, including those with special needs.  

Stats to Celebrate:  

2019 School National Percentiles (average for whole school grades 3-8)  

  • Reading 88% 

  • Math 92% 

  • English 89% 

  • Science 93%  

 Reading is Focus Area

We continue to work on improving student performance in reading as this is a primary goal for all Archdiocesan schools, and reading proficiency is an essential competency for academic success. This year we are focusing on two main strategies to improve reading:  

  •  Balanced Literacy in Primary/Intermediate Grades: We use the balanced literacy approach, which includes read alouds, shared reading, reading mini-lessons, independent reading and word study. This year’s focus for teacher professional development is on quality reading mini-lessons. This is when teachers provide whole-class reading instruction on effective reading strategies, and students practice it in their reading tasks. Last year we hired Ms. Megan Peters, our reading specialist. She taught teachers how to administer reading assessments to inform leveled small-group reading instruction. This year, she will help teachers use data to inform the strategies to teach during the mini-lessons.  

  • Middle School: Teachers will continue to teach how to read and appreciate literature during their novel studies. Teachers in the content areas will provide authentic resources for students to read and discern. On Tuesdays, a two-hour enrichment block was also added. Students will receive additional enrichment in the areas of writing and English Language Arts and math.  

Please click here for Understanding Aspire Student Summative Reports guidelines.

Students’ superior performance on the Aspire tests qualified St. Benedict Prep as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2019, one of only 50 private schools in the nation to earn the recognition.

Click for the Council for America Private Education (CAPE), for private schools honored on the 2019 Blue Ribbon list.