FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that students achieved a record high average score of 18.4 on the 2015-2016 ACT exam, which represents the highest composite score on record for the District. With the help of dedicated parents, teachers and school staff, ACT scores have grown steadily in recent years, increasing by 1.2 points since 2011 to this year’s record high.
“Chicago’s schools are realizing record-high academic achievements – progress that could not be made if it were not for the commitment by our students, teachers, parents and principals,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Our continuously rising ACT scores signal that more of our students are not only college-ready than ever before, but that their hard work is paying off and opening doors to even more academic options once they graduate. Needless to say, these results are yet another indication that our schools are on the right track, and that the future for our students is bright.”
The District’s composite average score of 18.4 is a .2 point increase from the previous school year and reflects subject level improvements in reading, math and science. In the past year, students increased the average scale score in math by .4 points, science by .4 points and reading by .2 points. The momentous growth in the District’s ACT scores since 2011 is unparalleled in contrast with the preceding 5-year period, which showed an increase of just .2 points between 2005 and 2010.
Notably, CPS students have demonstrated consistent growth in ACT math scores for the past six years. This past year, students averaged a math score of 18.7, the highest score on record, which represents a 1 point increase since 2010. Overall, this growth demonstrates improvements in college-readiness and progress toward better college accessibility for Chicago’s students.
“The ACT scores announced today are yet another indication that CPS students are performing better than ever and are increasingly qualified for college success,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “Our students, parents and educators deserve to be applauded for their continued growth, and as a District we are committed to providing them with the tools, resources and strategies needed to continue their impressive gains.”
Not only are CPS students achieving higher ACT scores on average, but the percentage of students meeting and exceeding the national average ACT score of 21 is also on the rise. This past year, 30.5 percent of CPS high school juniors scored a 21 above on the ACT compared to 25.5 percent in 2013.
“ACT scores provide the District with an important measuring stick for success, and the scores released today show that our schools continue to improve in core subject areas,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Increasing ACT scores mean our students are more likely to be accepted to college and attain valuable college scholarships that make college attendance a reality, and we are highly encouraged and motivated by the continued success of our students.”
The continued growth in ACT scores follows recently announced increases in the District’s graduation rate (73.5 percent), freshman on-track rate (87.4 percent), attendance rate (93.4 percent), college scholarship offers ($1.16 billion) and record high NWEA assessment scores that show CPS students on average scoring higher than their national peers.
The record achievement gains made by CPS students on the ACT exam and in other areas is attributable in part to a strategic effort by the District to improve access to high quality resources and instruction. By adopting rigorous Common Core standards for math and reading instruction, extending and standardizing the length of the school day through the Full School Day initiative, and significantly increasing access to challenging and enriching STEM, IB, AP and dual-credit/dual-enrollment opportunities, the District has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years to help ensure every student who enrolls in a CPS school leaves with a well-rounded 21st Century education.