Elementary School Rankings

November 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm 11 comments

Every year the Sun Times does a handy ranking of the test scores that were just released by CPS for the previous school year.  Here’s the most recent link.  I like this way of ranking them because it takes an actual average instead of the % of kids who meet the minimum requirements.


There are a few schools at the top of the list that don’t require testing in, meaning there is either something great going on there or there’s a group of parents who choose that school/neighborhood who place a strong value on education.   Or both. 

Oriole Park (neighborhood)
Lincoln (neighborhood)
Hawthorne (magnet via lottery)
Norwood Park (neighborhood)

If you click on the link, off to the left are some other rankings that are fun to look at.

North Side College Prep and Walter Payton are the top 2 scoring schools in the state (of course they require testing and grades to gain admission.)

Make a comment if you notice anything interesting.  Keep in mind the elementary scores represent grades 3 – 8.



Entry filed under: Test scores. Tags: .

Bureaucracy Rant – Gifted Classes If you read this before Friday at 2pm: Re future North Side high schools

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. RL Julia  |  November 6, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Why are those schools good schools:

    Look at the mobility rate (how many students are transferring in and out each year).
    Look at the percentage of kids eligible for free or reduced lunch.

    I would bet that both these measures would be lower than the CPS average.

    I would also look at teacher turnover in the schools – If the school is really doing something wonderful, that should be low as well.

    For grade school, I am convinced household income and parental level of education has a lot more to do with student’s school success (in testing) than many, many other things (including things that we think make schools great). Parents who are well educated themselves, tend to value education.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  November 6, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Very true. There are a few schools near the top of the list that have a high percentage of low-income students. To me, that is really impressive. They’re doing something right.

  • 3. Nick Scoby  |  November 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    @RL Julia: Certainly, there are external factors that contribute to a school’s successes and failures. Your argument, though, lacks depth of contemplation of numerous other external and internal factors.

    As an educator at one of the four above-mentioned schools, I have a somewhat clear idea of what goes on everyday, and has gone on for years. I can say that what makes that school a good school has very little to do with your points,and more to do with the quality of the individuals inside the building, than anything else.

    After all, not all highly educated and well-to-do parents are bright people.

  • 4. RL Julia  |  November 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Nick –
    point well taken… and my comments were not meant in any way to indicate that the schools honored are not deserving of merit. I only wanted to register that income and low mobility rates in student populations go a long way towards good test scores (as do good administrators, happy teachers and breakfast among other things) at least that is what the Sun Times list says to me.

    Not all highly educated, well-to-do people may be bright – but often times they are in the position to make sure that their children have the resources necessary to succeed in school in ways that their not so highly-educated, not-well to do counterparts do not.

  • 5. Ed  |  November 7, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    There are several schools that have seen a double digit percentage rank improvement, some of whom have high % low income student body. In particular, Mitchell has 95% low income and had a 21% increase. I wonder what they are doing that has caused such improvements, and could other schools emulate them? (I know nothing about the school)
    Also wanted to note the vastly better way that the sun times report ranks the schools as the average student ranking is much more statistically relevant than % of students passing – although it would still be useful to know something about the shape of the distribution of scores.
    Finally, the high school results for Chicago are truly atrocious, only 9 high schools in the city are better than the statewide average; all the rest are at least sub-par. Very distressing.

  • 6. 2 cents  |  November 8, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I’d like to see the list that is only all inclusive or lottery schools. It’s really not fair to include the gifted schools where the average IQ runs 135 to 145. Not so impressive. The only point of note in those cases is if the score is below 100%. There really should not be one single student score below 100% since those children and all of their classmates have tested with superior IQ and/or classical scores. Right?

  • 7. hopeful  |  November 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I am not sure I agree that all gifted schools should be scoring at 100. These are kids, real people attending those schools. Kids get sick, get mixed up on the bubble-in forms, make mistakes even if they are really smart.
    If you want to see just how schools do that don’t require testing 2 cents, you can simply look for the top scoring schools without the asterisk on the page.

    As the mom of a Hawthorne student, I agree with Nick. The teachers and staff and parents (many of whom do intensive volunteering directly related to learning, such as helping with writer’s workshop or math centers) are using excellent strategies and the latest research in education. Stuff I have heard of at conferences and in teaching journals, but have rarely seen implemented in schools. Those teachers are amazing in their level of quality.

    Looking at that list, I am mostly amazed at the Northwest side schools. Particularly Oriole Park School. They have nearly 40 kids in their classes and they are still doing really well.

    I think it is way too soon to get all excited about Mitchell. When a school can hold its gains for 4-5 years, then I think there is something to notice. One year of gains could mean anything. I have been watching Dodge pretty closely. They are the single most successful turnaround school in the city, posting significant gains over a number of years in an area of the city full of schools that aren’t performing. I have been in the system long enough to be a little skeptical, but their growing track record is winning me over.

    My family looked closely at the scores around the state because we are probably moving. While the suburb we will move to (due to job reasons) does reasonably well, the schools can’t compare the Hawthorne and we are more than a little sad that our kids won’t be able to continue there much past the next year or two. But, we are glad to be gaining a good high school without the chicago high school craziness. It is a mixed bag for us.

  • 8. cpsmama  |  November 9, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    @2 cents

    High IQ and/or intelligence is not necessarily reflected on ISAT test scores, particularly when you take into account that only a portion of those tests are used to compute the “scores” used for ranking schools. Every smart child is not a great standardized test taker.

  • 9. RL Julia  |  November 9, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    So true 2 cents. Unfortunately, CPS depends largely on tests to determine gifted-ness or at least entrance to gifted and talents programs and select schools. Even doing well on tests often only guarantees one a spot to be entered in a lottery. I am alternately annoyed that CPS in general doesn’t really offer all the gifted kids in the city what they need and disappointed that they (CPS) chose such a narrow definition of what a gifted kid looks like (as in a good test taker). In the end of it all, I don’t think that all the gifted kids in the city are being served and that being a gifted kid guarantees much of anything access to education-wise in the system.

    I am in the process of applying for 7th grade programs for my son (an excellent test taker and all around good student) and am appalled at the competitiveness of the process and overall the lack of choice for a middle school program. I feel like I am making the choice between having his academic abilities met but most likely at the expense of his mental health (he is not a particularly competitive minded kid) or vice versa. It kills me to think (never mind say to a ten year old) this year everything counts. Should one really have to compete so hard to get one’s child’s basic educational needs met? The kicker is that of course, in two years he’ll get to this all over again for high school.

  • 10. two cents  |  November 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Cpsmama, all of the kids who are in these programs have already established that they are good, if not excellent test takers. The ISAT evaluates the achievement of core competencies expected for the grade level. By all means, I really think that there is not a big excuse for a selective enrollment student not scoring 100% – unless they were admitted through principal discretion or other means.

  • 11. Jason  |  November 14, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    http://www.homefacts.com/schools.html Lets you compare local school stats. Great resource!

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