April 8, 2014
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced a more uniform process for all students applying to selective enrollment schools for School Year 2015-16 (SY15-16). Following state testing changes, CPS is adopting the Northwestern Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) as the uniform assessment for all students when applying to a selective enrollment school, academic center or gifted school. For students who do not currently attend a CPS school, tests will be offered free of charge in September and October at multiple locations around the city. Current CPS students will take the NWEA at their school this spring.
"Assessments are an important tool for measuring a student's academic growth and success and have always been a factor for admission to our selective enrollment programs," CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said. "After hearing feedback from parents, students, teachers, principals and community members, we've made a decision to require scores from a uniform assessment in order to streamline the evaluation process and make sure that students across the city are afforded equal opportunities to these competitive schools."
NWEA MAP is aligned with the rigorous Common Core State Standards and provides a more accurate measure of a student's strength and areas of growth than other standardized tests. CPS students in grades 2-8 are already taking the NWEA MAP at their schools this spring (April 28 to May 23, 2014). The scores of CPS students who test in the spring will be applied to their selective enrollment admissions for SY15-16, except in cases where a parent or guardian requests that their child retake the test in the fall because of adverse circumstances. Scores in the fall would replace a student's score in the spring, regardless of which one score was higher.
Non-CPS students seeking to enroll in a selective enrollment school or program for SY15-16 will be required to take NWEA MAP between September 6 and October 11, 2014. Free testing will occur on Saturdays at city locations to be announced by May 1. Students will complete the separate reading and math portions of the test over two Saturdays in the fall.
NWEA MAP scores will be added to the selective enrollment high school admissions process in the following ways:
- Students must score at or above the 24th percentile to qualify to take the selective enrollment exam for Selective Enrollment High Schools.
- The percentile values from NWEA will be included in the 900 point rubric used for ultimate admissions decisions for 8th graders applying to selective high schools. NWEA will be worth up to 300 points, with grades and the selective enrollment exam each worth up to 300 points.
Under the former application process, non-CPS students were eligible to apply to selective enrollment programs with scores from other nationally-normed assessments that were deemed comparable to the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). Changes to the ISAT this school year pushed CPS to adopt the NWEA MAP for the selective enrollment admissions process.
The District's selective enrollment elementary schools are a citywide network of program models specifically designed for academically advanced elementary school students. These programs serve about 7,000 K-8 students every year, consisting of regional gifted centers, classical schools, academic centers, and the international gifted programs. There are 10 selective enrollment high schools, and with expansions currently underway at both Jones College Prep and Payton College Prep High Schools, the District will offer 3,500 9th grade seats to students across the city by 2016.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett are committed to increasing the number of Selective Enrollment high school seats and for meeting the demand of all quality education options. Last year, 18,000 students applied for 3,000 freshman selective enrollment seats across the City. There are about 12,000 total selective enrollment seats. There are approximately 2,500 students who qualify for selective enrollment high schools, but CPS does not currently have enough capacity in selective enrollment high schools to accommodate these students.
Information on selective enrollment program offerings and additional information about the process for the fall NWEA MAP testing is available on the Office of Access and Enrollment's website at http://www.cpsoae.org.
Chicago Public Schools serves 400,000 students in 658 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.