CPS Students Made Landmark Gains In 2014-15 School Year 

Improved growth on ACT scores, freshmen-on-track rates and graduation rates;
CPS also revises graduation rate calculation to ensure transparency in growth
Friday, October 2, 2015  

For more information, contact:        
CPS Office of Communications   
Phone: 773-553-1620
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson announced that Chicago Public Schools students are continuing to build on their academic gains, with growth on the ACT rate, freshmen-on-track rate, and graduation rates marking the highest measures for CPS student achievement on record.
Among Chicago students’ accomplishments:
  • Average ACT score: 18.2 (highest measure on record)
  • Freshmen-on-track to graduate: 84.1 percent (highest measure on record)
  • 5-Year cohort graduation rate: 69.9 percent (highest measure on record)
“Today in the City of Chicago, we have adopted a pre-K through college approach to the education of every child in every neighborhood and these across the board gains on everything from our graduation rates to our ACT scores prove that our students are continuing to make real progress,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This progress is a testament to the work of our principals, teachers, parents, and community leaders who all play a role in the education of our students. But we will not rest on these gains. We will build on them to ensure that every Chicago child has the high quality education they need for the prosperous future they deserve.”
As part of today’s announcement, CPS is also strengthening its internal controls for calculating the graduation rate. CPS recalculated last year’s rate to be 66.3 percent after questions were raised about how some schools categorized transfer students. A fact sheet fully detailing the change is attached.
“We want the people of Chicago to have absolute confidence in their child’s schools, and the ability of our schools to provide students with the tools they need to be successful in the classroom,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “There is no question that CPS’ graduation rate is on the rise, thanks to the hard work of our students, parents, teachers and principals – and we will remain focused on making sure every child receives a quality education.”
The District will continue to build on this progress with investments in early education funds and other programs that keep students in the classroom so that they can receive the instruction necessary to prepare for high school graduation and success in life. Since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011, the City has established a full school day and full school year, a full day of kindergarten for every student in Chicago and is increasing access to 4-year old pre-k programs for low-income families.
In recent years and with the support of Mayor Emanuel, CPS has made investments in key programs that are proven to help prepare students for high school graduation and the rigors of 21st century college coursework. By placing a focus on the expansion of demanding, rigorous coursework through IB, STEM, AP and dual-credit programs, the District has elevated expectations in order to better prepare students for the ACT and other college readiness benchmarks.
“As educators, our primary goal is providing every one of our students with the tools they need to graduate ready for a bright future,” said Chief Education Officer Jackson. “Our students are making major strides, and not only do I congratulate them students on their achievement, I also encourage our staff to continue effectively supporting our students so that this positive trend will grow.”
ACT Scores
  • This year’s ACT results for graduating seniors mark an encouraging five-year trend of ACT improvement across CPS schools, with an increase of scale of 0.9 scale score points since 2010.
  •  This year’s 18.2 composite score also represents an increase of .2 scale score points over last year’s composite score of 18.0 and demonstrates that students are outpacing the state in the core subjects of mathematics and reading.
  •  In addition to demonstrating growth in all tested subjects, CPS students made gains in all college-readiness benchmarks as determined by ACT, while statewide achievement rates remained flat.
Freshmen on-Track
  •  In 2008, the District began tracking the freshman on-track rate, developed by the University of Chicago. According to the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR), freshmen who are on-track are three and a half times more likely to graduate from high school in four years than students who are off-track. The measurement looks at course grades and credits in the first year of high school and students are considered on-track at the end of their freshman year if they accumulated at least five course credits and failed no more than one semester course in a core subject during the school year.
  • The freshmen on-track metric allows teachers and schools to support students during the critical transition year of 9th grade. With the supports of the on-track metric, more students than ever before are staying in school, as schools are now able to identify issues early on so that students are able to get on-track and stay on-track.
  • Please see the attachment for an additional note about the freshmen-on-track rate.
Graduation Rate
  •  The graduation rate announced today measures the percentage of students who entered ninth grade in fall 2010 and graduated by the end of summer 2015, and it demonstrates a clear upward trend in both the number of graduates and the percentage of students who graduate.
  • Additional information about the revised graduation rate is available in the attachment.

Page Last Modified on Friday, October 02, 2015