CPS Students Attain Record High Levels of College and Career Readiness 

40.6 Percent of 2016 Graduates Earned At Least One of Six Early College and Career Credentials
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

For more information, contact:                                     
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620
CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that more than 9,200 graduating seniors in School Year 2015-2016 (SY15-16) earned early college and career credentials, which make college more accessible for our students and prepare them to succeed in higher education. Total participation in programs that award college and career credentials have increased by 1,200 students over last school year, and represent a 9.4 percentage point increase since 2014. These programs are a strong indicator of college preparedness and put the District closer toward meeting Mayor Emanuel’s goal of at least 50 percent of all CPS high school graduates attaining these credentials by 2019.

“Today Chicago’s students are doing better than ever before – setting records in graduation rates, college attendance, ACT scores, scholarships earned, and math and reading gains,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We have made a series of investments to ensure that no matter which neighborhood a student lives in, that he or she can access early college credits that will apply toward their next degree. Earning these credentials while still in high school will give our students the skills and confidence they need to succeed when they head off to college, and will lay the foundation for securing the jobs of tomorrow.”
To increase students’ participation in opportunities that will prepare them for post-secondary success, earlier this year Mayor Emanuel set a goal to have 50 percent of students attaining early college and career credentials by 2019. Since that time, a total of 40.6 percent of students earned early college and career credentials in SY 15-16, a 4.6 percentage point increase from the previous year and a 9.4 point increase from 2014.
Students are able to earn early college and career credentials by achieving passing scores on Advanced Placement (3 or above) or International Baccalaureate tests (4 or above), or by earning an industry certification in Career and Technical Education, college credit in Dual Credit or Dual Enrollment courses, or a program credential in JROTC. In SY 15-16, CPS students earned credits through the following course options:
  • Advanced Placement (AP): 5047 students at a total of 107 CPS high schools earned credits.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 876 students earned credits on IB exams, and more than 13,300 CPS students were enrolled in IB courses at various grade levels.
    • As home to the largest network of IB schools in the nation, CPS has increased enrollment in IB programs by 370 percent over the past five years, with IB participation in high schools quadrupling. Participation will continue increasing as some schools are in the process of achieving authorization to serve more students in the program.
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE): 1,466 students earned an industry certification and more than 17,600 students were enrolled in one of the District's CTE programs, which offer industry-focused technical programs that prepare students for future career opportunities.
  • Dual Credit: 2,026 students earned college credit through a dual credit course.
  • Dual Enrollment: 1,503 students earned college credit through a dual-enrollment course.
  • JROTC: 999 students earned a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps credential.
“As an educator, I’ve seen how crucial college credits and course experience can be to promoting college enrollment and persistence among our students,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “By providing students with an opportunity to engage with college-level work and the confidence of knowing they are capable of succeeding in higher education, we are giving our students an invaluable leg up that will help them succeed at the college and career of their choice.”
In addition to growth in overall student attainment of early college and career credentials in recent years, growth can also be seen among every subgroup of students in the District. In the past year, early college and career credential attainment growth has increased by more than six percent among Hispanic students and almost four percent among African American students. Additionally, the number of schools exposing students to a significant number of early college and career opportunities is also on the rise. In SY 14-15, 83 schools had 10 percent or fewer students accessing early college and career credentials, but in SY 15-16, the number of schools dropped to 55. By expanding opportunities for students to access high-quality curriculum that prepares them for the rigors of college, CPS will continue to improve attainment rates among all student groups.
Early college and career credential attainment has also increased across school types, with significant growth at neighborhood schools, where early college and career attainment has increased by almost 5 percent since 2015. The District is implementing comprehensive strategies to make college and career readiness opportunities more accessible at all CPS schools by:
  • Targeting and investing in schools that have the least amount of students participating in early college and career programs;
  • Identifying and recruiting teachers who are qualified to teach one or more college readiness courses at their respective school; and
  • Leveraging partnerships with additional colleges and universities in the city to expand access to dual-credit/dual-enrollment programs. 
With more students graduating today and preparing for college than ever before, CPS is working to better prepare its students for success with access to rigorous curriculum that is aligned to what they will encounter in college. In addition to the exposure to rigorous coursework that they will encounter in college, accessing early college and career credentials provides students an opportunity to increase confidence and reduce cost toward their next degree.
By increasing opportunities for students to participate in programs including AP, IB, dual credit and dual enrollment, and investing in evidence-based resources and supports, including expanded social and emotional learning resources, CPS students have been able to attain record-high graduation rates (73.5 percent), freshman-on-track rates (87.4 percent), attendance rates (93.4 percent) and ACT scores (18.4) in the past year.

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, September 28, 2016