Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released its new school quality ratings to provide students, families and educators with the most accurate and comprehensive assessments of schools performance as well as fairly allocate educational supports to ensure schools can achieve the high academic standards set by the District.
“SQRP was designed to empower informed choices by providing students and families the most comprehensive indication of school quality ever provided by the District,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “For teachers and principals, the new ratings will provide the framework to fairly and accurately measure schools’ performance, as well as help guide our decisions in providing support.”
Rather than disproportionately relying on test scores, SQRP looks at a broad range of indicators of student success such as student attendance, academic growth and school culture. The new policy adopts the use of five categories of performance as compared with the former three categories – providing a greater level of granularity for school performance while maintaining classifications already familiar to the school community.
The new SQRP ratings are based on data collected during the 2013-14 school year and show that 161 schools achieved the highest rating of Level 1+ and 154 schools were rated Level 1, with 118 schools rated Level 2+, 159 at Level 2 and 44 schools at Level 3.
Based on the SQRP ratings, 330 schools are now in good standing, and 54 schools will receive provisional support from the Central Office. A total of 148 schools will continue to receive intensive support to help improve academic achievement.
The previous performance policy – the school rating system before SQRP – ranked 174 schools at Level 1, 231 at Level 2 and 185 schools at Level 3. Under the former system, 201 schools were on probation.
“The expanded ratings will help us develop and coordinate support for teachers and principals and give a clearer picture of the strengths of each school,” said Byrd-Bennett.
As part the SQRP policy, 12 schools were allowed to maintain their Level 1 ranking for one year despite earning a lower designation. These schools experienced a condition or an event that had a significant impact, such as a significant change in student population, a significant change of the school’s teaching staff as compared to the prior year or a change of principal.
“Schools that experienced a significant change that may have contributed to a lower rating deserve a full school year to recover without an impact to their rating. By giving schools a one-year reprieve, we are recognizing the effect of the change on students, teachers and leadership without unfairly burdening the school with the additional requirements of a lower level school,” said Byrd-Bennett.
In addition to the new ratings, CPS identified six charters schools to be placed on the Charter Academic Warning List as a result of failure to meet academic standards as specified by the SQRP and the school’s contract: Amandla Charter School, BSICS- Betty Shabazz Campus, BSICS – Sizemore Campus, CICS- Larry Hawkins Campus, CICS- Lloyd Bond Campus and Polaris Academy Charter School.
No charter campuses are on the Academic Warning List for a second straight year, as all five campuses on the previous Warning List demonstrated academic achievement on the new SQRP. Three schools previously on the Warning List showed substantial improvement: UNO Rufino Tamayo Campus earned a Level 1+ rating, and CICS Basil Campus and Catalyst Circle Rock Campus earned a Level 1 rating.
Charter campuses with persistent performance less than Level 2+ may face sanctions, up to and including non-renewal, at the time of agreement renewal.
In August 2013 and with amendments in August 2014 and November 2014, the Chicago Board of Education approved the use of the SQRP beginning in School Year 2014-15 to provide a highly detailed assessment of district schools. After using a Performance Policy that placed schools into one of three rating levels, CPS changed to SQRP, which places schools into one of five rating levels, utilizes performance benchmarks tied to national standards and uses metrics better aligned to the District’s strategic plan, including college enrollment and persistence.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.