December 18, 2013
CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) 4th graders continue to make impressive gains in math and reading, outpacing their peers in large-city school districts around the nation and across Illinois, according to results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) student assessment tests, called the "Nation's Report Card."
"These results reinforce how effective implementing the Common Core and expanding access to high quality education options for all students has been in raising the bar of academic excellence," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "Thanks to the hard work of teachers, principals and families, our students continue to make meaningful progress, but we still have a long way to go for every child to be 100% college ready and college bound."
The District's 4th graders improved their math scores by 7 points since 2011, tying for the largest increase among large-city school districts. In comparison, over a ten year period, 4th graders improved their math proficiency on NAEP tests by 17 points. This growth has accelerated in the last two years as the District has led a series of reforms to boost student learning – from investments in early child education and a full-day kindergarten for all students to introducing the more rigorous Common Core State Standards and expanding options to International Baccalaureate and STEM programs.
"The NAEP results show that CPS students are continuing to make great strides in core subjects," CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said. "We look forward to building off this progress for every child to have access to a learning environment to realize their fullest potential inside and outside of the classroom."
Some other student achievement results from the NAEP test include:
- 4th grade reading scores in CPS continue to improve and are 3 points higher than in 2011 and are up 13 points from 2002, closing the gap with large-city school districts around the nation and the rest of Illinois.
- The number of CPS 4th graders scoring "Proficient" or "Advanced" on NAEP reading tests continued to grow in 2013.
- 8th grade math scores have improved 15 points since 2003, keeping pace with growth trends in other large-city school districts and closing the performance gap with the rest of Illinois.
- The number of CPS 8th graders scoring "Proficient" or "Advanced" on NAEP math tests continued to grow in 2013.
- The District's 8th grade reading scores have improved since 2002 by 4 points.
- The number of CPS 8th graders scoring "Proficient" or "Advanced" on NAEP reading tests continued to grow in 2013.
"The new NAEP results show substantial gains for the Chicago Public Schools, particularly at the fourth-grade level," said Michael Casserly, Executive Director for the Council of the Great Schools. "This is a clear signal that Chicago is on the right track academically and should continue focusing on improving the quality of instruction in all of its classrooms."
NAEP results in 2013 also showed that while CPS' African-American and Hispanic 4th and 8th graders are making significant gains in math and reading, there continues to be an achievement gap. Under CEO Byrd-Bennett, the District is committed to working with principals and teachers to identify students who've fallen behind their classmates and get them the targeted support services they need – academically, socially/emotionally and ensure that they are in school and ready to learn.
"To close the achievement gap, CPS will continue to invest our efforts in identifying and supporting students of all backgrounds who have fallen behind their peers, ensuring that every child in every community in Chicago is prepared for college, career and life," CEO Byrd-Bennett said.
The CEO has identified four priority groups that have become the focus for improvement: African-Americans, Hispanics, English Language Learners and students with disabilities. Common Core State Standards will continue across CPS. As more teachers and students become familiar with this rigorous instruction, it's expected that student performance and NAEP scores will continue to improve.
The bi-annual NAEP tests capture 4th and 8th grade proficiency only in math and reading to establish trend lines against state and national averages. About 8,000 CPS students from nearly 200 schools participated in NAEP testing between January and March 2013. Students who were selected to participate took two 25-minute tests in either reading or math. The process was overseen by the National Center for Education Statistics.