CPS Students Outpace Growth of National Urban, State Peers in Reading, Math 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                              
Thursday, October 28, 2015                                                                      

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Building on their success in 2013, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students have again outpaced the academic growth of their national and state peers in both math and reading, according to the results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the "Nation's Report Card."  CPS grew in every category on the biannual assessment, and Chicago students’ gains were among the largest in the nation in both 8th grade math and 4th grade reading.
“There is no doubt that our students are making tremendous academic progress and that our schools are on the rise – both of which are a direct result of the hard work by our City’s students, teachers, school leaders and parents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These results and the gains made in our classrooms demonstrate that our investments in education are paying off – as our students are making unprecedented growth in both reading and math, and more students than ever before are graduating from high school prepared for success in college, career and life.”
CPS growth has accelerated over the last four 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 supporting implementation of the more rigorous Common Core State Standards and expanding options to International Baccalaureate and STEM programs.
“Our students’ academic gains are a testament to their hard work, the commitment of their teachers, principals and parents, and Mayor Emanuel’s investment in a longer school day for every child,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “All of Chicago can take pride in the fact that more of our students are on track to graduate ready for college and their careers.”
“These results show that, without question, Chicago is on the right track academically,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson. “As a District, we have made it a priority to support our teachers in the transition to teaching Common Core standards that are preparing students for the 21st century job market.”
Math Results
  • Eighth grade CPS students achieved the greatest growth in the nation among their urban peers in math, registering growth of 6 scale-score points since 2013, up 21 points since 2003. The state of Illinois as a whole, by comparison, showed growth of 5 scale-score points since 2003.
  • Fourth grade CPS students added to their 2013 nation-leading 7-point growth in math with another 1-point increase, for an 18-point gain since 2003.  The state as a whole, by comparison, showed a growth of 4 points in fourth-grade math since 2003.
Reading Results
  • In reading, fourth grade CPS students achieved the third highest growth in the nation among their urban peers with growth of 7 scale-score points since 2013 and 15 points since 2003.  The state as a whole, by comparison, showed a growth of 5 points since 2003.
  • Eighth grade CPS students posted an average growth of 4 scale-score points in reading since 2013, for an average growth of 9 scale-score points since 2003. The state as a whole, by comparison, showed a growth of 1 point since 2003.
Since 2003, Chicago has the second best growth in the nation among urban districts for both 4th grade and 8th grade reading.
“Chicago’s new NAEP results give the city reason to celebrate,” said Michael Casserly, Executive Director for the Council of the Great City Schools. “CPS’ improvements were among the strongest in the nation among all other large city school districts and they significantly outpaced state and national trends.  The academic headway made by CPS is a tribute to its focus on improving the quality of instruction, meeting new standards and lengthening the school day.”
Some other student achievement results from the NAEP test include:
  • Chicago is one of only three urban districts to show academic growth in each of the four measures (i.e., math and reading in 4th and 8th grades);
  • CPS has closed the gap with other urban districts, statistically tying on each of the four measures; 
  • CPS continues to close the gap with Illinois districts outside of Chicago;
  • Low-income CPS students have caught up with their peers around the state in math;  
  • English learners showed academic progress in three out of four measures;
  • African-American students are performing at or above their peers around the state.
While 2015’s NAEP results show that achievement gaps persist for African-American and Hispanic students, both priority groups made important progress in math and reading this year. As with other standardized testing, CPS educators will be reviewing the Districts’ performance and will use that information to guide professional development and student supports in the coming months.
The biannual NAEP tests capture fourth and eighth grade proficiency in math and reading to establish trend lines against state and national averages. About 14,000 CPS students from approximately 200 schools participated in NAEP testing between January and March of 2015. 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.
The District is encouraged by the NAEP results, and when it comes to the overall testing approach, will continue to take a close look to ensure that students aren’t being tested any more than is necessary and that the District is using results to guide decisions that improve learning.

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, October 28, 2015