Academic Center Admission by Tier

July 3, 2016 at 9:22 pm 75 comments

AC Admission 2016

I was able to get this info on Tier Admission for the ACs.

Interestingly, unlike the SE High Schools, Tier4 kids have a lower chance of admission than a Tier 1 kid, because SO MANY Tier 4 kids apply.  Over 3x as many Tier 4 kids apply as Tier 1 kids (2931 vs 853.)  Not sure why that is, although location may influence this.

Lane and Young are the most selective for all tiers.

So not like this is any surprise, but getting in an AC is much more difficult than getting in an SEHS.


Entry filed under: Academic Centers, Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Wahoo! 7th grade is over! Chicago Magazine’s Top Schools 2016

75 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MM  |  July 3, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    These “percent accepted” numbers you report are VERY misleading. Since students are applying to multiple schools, but they can be accepted at only one, you can’t just divide the number accepted into the number who applied and get a meaningful number. For example, my son applied to WYAC, Lane and Taft — he got into WYAC with a score high enough to be admitted to any of the three. He is counted in the denominator but not the numerator, which isn’t quite right.

    I wouldn’t normally correct people’s math on the internet, but I worry that just looking at the percentages will get folks overly-panicked. The acceptance rates are low, but not THAT low.

  • 2. Pritzker Mom  |  July 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    My daughter is going into sixth grade so she’ll be applying this year. She is a little nervous about the admissions test. Can anyone recommend prep materials (other than the selective prep course)?

  • 3. Marketing Mom  |  July 4, 2016 at 12:57 am

    These numbers for Tier 4 are not surprising. It just represents the fact that many Tier 4 families are desperate to get their children into academic centers to get a jump start on the whole SEHS process.

  • 4. jillwohl  |  July 4, 2016 at 4:52 am

    Note that in some cases, sometimes twice as many — or more — Tier 4 students are accepted into SE programs, illustrating that the 30% set aside for top scorers overwhelmingly benefits students living in the top quartile of census tracts for household income.

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  July 4, 2016 at 10:34 am

    @MM, completely true. I made a point of that on the HS thread but have not done so here. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people say that the acceptance rate is lower than Harvard or something similar. That logic is based on # of applications, not applicants. I will add a note to the chart when I get a chance.

    How many ACs do we think that kids apply to on average? 3? I can FOIA that (should have included it in my first request.)

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  July 4, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    If Tier 4 kids apply to just 2 schools apiece, that means that 1465 kids applied and 387 were offered spots, the acceptance rate was 26%.

    If 2.5 schools were applied to (an average, of course) the acceptance rate would be for Tier 4 would be 33%.

    So that is actually not so bad. The challenge is that often people want the specific school they want…. in which case admission becomes more challenging.

  • 7. maman  |  July 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    My child was accepted into LTAC. It was the only school that we listed.

    Tier 4.
    Score 888.

  • 8. Pritzker Mom  |  July 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I think the number of schools applied to varies by neighborhood. We live in Lincoln Park and my daughter will only be applying to LT and WY. If we lived further north, we’d probably apply to Taft as well. (The commute to Taft is a deal breaker for us.)

    In general, I don’t think these stats provide any meaningful information. Unlike in college admissions, there is nothing subjective in the process. The number of applicants doesn’t meaningfully impact a student’s likelihood of admission.

    If you believe the chart that Selective Prep provides (, only Tier 4 students who score in the 99.6 percentile and above on the admissions test have a shot at WY admission. For Lane it goes down to the 99.4 percentile.

    I would rather see admissions percentages of kids who go into the admissions test with 600 points.

  • 9. Beverly Dad  |  July 5, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Not to threadjack, but we are a Tier 4 family that is not going to be participating in this Selective Enrollment craziness. CPS as an organization is SO screwed up, we simply cannot have to stress out about strikes, budget cuts, and overcrowding.

    I went through the strike of 1987 where CPS students were out until October, and there is no conceivable way will we put our kids through this process if we have the means to send them to private. Yeah, yeah, I know — good for you, bye bye, etc. It’s so disheartening to know that even if your kids get in to a “good” school, you’ve got to put up with this lunacy or pay out-of-pocket. Shameful. 😦

  • 10. Test Preppers  |  July 5, 2016 at 10:22 am

    The chart from Selective Prep is incorrect. The scores they show out of 300, which are supposed to correlate with the percentile score, are not accurate. My child went into the test with a 600. The score my child received is not even listed on their chart. But, I have to admit, I really dislike companies like this because they perpetuate the problem and rarely present correct information. They are the “ambulance chasers” of the academic entry world.

  • 11. NearNorthMom  |  July 5, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    @ 9 Beverly Dad, I hope even if you leave CPS you and others on this board remain engaged in your own CPS neighborhood schools and their student outcomes. Certainly, being here in the city long enough to remember the 1987 strike, makes you ideal to continue to add voice from you community in regards to what you’d like to see in your area schools. Vested city people like you make the process work better, I am sure you know one person can make that difference and I hope you consider being that one person. My Best – city resident since 1959

  • 12. IB/IB mom (formerly IB and AC mom)  |  July 5, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I agree with Marketing Mom @3. I don’t think we would even look at AC’s if it wasn’t for the fact that tier 4 high school scores are so high and there is so much competition. Now that we have, I am glad we did. My older daughter went to Taft and stayed there. She had a really easy transition into high school after that. We ended up doing it again with my younger daughter. Even though she is a straight A student and scores well on standardized tests, there is still no guarantee that she would get into any of the 5 that we would consider based on location. Her test scores are not 99 and 99, and are probably closer to 91 and 95 so that already puts her out of the running for Northside or Payton, but luckily having gone through this before we didn’t have our eyes set on either of those schools.

  • 13. Jen K  |  July 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    @2 I purchased a test book to prepare my daughter for the types of questions on the AC test. She told me later that the test was exactly like the sample in the book.

    Practice Test for the CogAT – Levels 13/14 (Form 7) Paperback – 2013
    by Bright Kids NYC (Author)

  • 14. Shaquille  |  July 6, 2016 at 7:23 am

    ” It’s a pet peeve of mine when people say that the acceptance rate is lower than Harvard or something similar. That logic is based on # of applications, not applicants. ”

    Plus it’s an apples and oranges comparison anyway. For SEHS, there is basically no extra effort or cost to apply. For college, you have to pay an application fee, complete a long application and write essays (and potentially interview). If colleges already had your test scores and grades on file and only required applicants to check off boxes with colleges listed on a form to be considered for admittance, most colleges would have an acceptance rate less than 0.001%.

  • 15. Chris  |  July 6, 2016 at 10:07 am


    Based on the research we did, I would second Jen K’s recommendation. Seems to be a good match of the material from Selective Prep, too.

  • 16. Chris  |  July 6, 2016 at 10:19 am


    “The score my child received is not even listed on their chart.”

    The score your child received on the AC test *by itself*??

    I don’t buy that the percentiles they show are ‘true’, either.

  • 17. South Side Mom  |  July 6, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    “Over 3x as many Tier 4 kids apply as Tier 1 kids (2931 vs 853.) Not sure why that is, although location may influence this.”
    It’s funny that you mentioned this. My family lives in a tier 2 neighborhood. We were born and raised her and all our family lives here. My child attended a neighborhood school and was part of the gifted program. She received straight A’s on her report cards from 1st grade all the way up to 6th grade, she was easily the top student in her grade. With all this going for her, not once did a teacher or the principal ever suggest testing for an AC. The problem with some of these schools in tier 1 and tier 2 neighborhoods is that the principals try to keep their top students.
    Luckily for her, we knew there were other options out there for her and she will now be attending WYAC next fall.

  • 18. Chris  |  July 7, 2016 at 8:47 am

    “The problem with some of these schools in tier 1 and tier 2 neighborhoods is that the principals try to keep their top students.”

    At many (most??) of the Tier 4 schools, the admin actively discourages leaving for AC–“top” students or otherwise.

    To my experience, this is doubly true in the options programs, as they need to replace the departing kids, and that *may* mess with 7th grade for the kids who stay.

  • 19. mom2  |  July 7, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I don’t think it is the admin at schools that causes Tier 4 kids to try for/leave for AC. It’s all about the parents. They obsess so much that kids as young as 3rd grade start talking about going to an AC. It’s all about the parents (and then their kids).

    However, it is all about the admin when it comes to touting the SEHS because those stats make their school look good to those obsessed future kindergarten parents.

  • 20. South Side Mom  |  July 7, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I understand. I was just responding to the statement made. A lot of the parents of the students attending my daughter’s school are not aware of Academic Centers. All they know is their child attends the neighborhood grade school and will likely attend the neighborhood HS. I am only speaking of personal experience. When my daughter told her friends she was applying to WYAC, they told their parents. I received calls from moms wanting to know how the entire process worked and how exactly to apply. These kids are not preparing to take the test from an early age, they don’t even know it’s exists. Again, this is my own personal experience.

  • 21. 8th Grade mom  |  July 7, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    We are in a Tier 4 school. The teachers and admins never made us aware of the ACs. Since the neighborhood school goes through 8th, why would they actively send away their best-testing students? The neighborhood school is inclusive of kids of all abilities,and even the top students find challenges available in the environment. We stayed through 8th and am happy for that – I think it gave us more choices come HS time.

  • 22. HSObsessed  |  July 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    @17 – While I don’t doubt no one mentioned ACs to you for your child, I don’t think this is a tier-related thing, but instead just another component of CPS being too big to run efficiently in a million ways, including disseminating information to those who need it. My child was also a strong candidate for accelerated middle-school programs, but neither I nor she ever got any information during 5th or 6th grade suggesting that she should apply to any of them, including the program that was right inside her school.

  • 23. Chris  |  July 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    “I don’t think this is a tier-related thing, but instead just another component of CPS being too big to run efficiently in a million ways”

    Also, the incentives are in contradiction to each other. Sending away a kid to AC means less $$ for the next school year. Flip it around, and give the school the same money, but with one less kid, and it might change things. Give the K-8 a *bonus* for every kid that goes to AC, and it would change things at most schools (and would *then* be a clear indication of an indifferent administation)

  • 24. 8th & 6th & counting  |  July 8, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Based on 5th grade MAP and grades and assuming a solid test score, my daughter could probably get in to LTAC. This would be convenient since it is closest HS to our house and her brother will likely choose Lane for HS. But, the AC question has been decided in our house: my daughter nixed the idea when she found out she would no longer have recess. I’m glad she has her priorities straight. Great reminder that they are still young and just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

  • 25. Former AC parent  |  July 8, 2016 at 11:33 am

    My son just graduated from an AC! Let your daughter know that although she doesn’t get recess she gets a 50 minute lunch & 50 minutes of gym EVERYDAY! My son couldn’t believe he got to have gym everyday and that he could eat leisurely (although some times he had to go to tutoring during lunch) instead of stuffing his lunch down his throat in 15-20 minutes to have recess for 15-20 minutes. Also, unlike elementary schools AC students can “hang out” after school if it’s a day when they don’t have an activity/club/sport and many days when I picked him up he and others were outside talking, tossing a football or doing somersaults!

  • 26. karet  |  July 8, 2016 at 11:58 am

    At Skinner North, all of the 6th graders get a packet with their current scores and the most recent cut offs for all of the ACs so they can decide whether or not to go through the application process. This year about 2/3 of the class is leaving for ACs (mostly WY and Lane, but a few others).

  • 27. HSObsessed  |  July 8, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    OK, in light of what karet said @26, I should amend my previous comment to say that I certainly did not get any information. My child, on the other hand, may have received things and summarily tossed them.

    Not to change the subject, but here’s an example of how CPS doesn’t really evaluate its systems from a user perspective: Last time I checked Parent Portal in the week of June 21 or June 27, final grades had not been entered. When I checked earlier this week, Parent Portal had already been shut down for the school year. I called the school to ask about it: They said that someone had to come pick up the report card in person, during the three hours in the middle of the work day that the office is open in the summer time. I asked if they could mail the report card to me, since they mail mid-quarter reports all the time? Nope, that is not allowed by CPS policy. Sigh.

  • 28. TAC Mom  |  July 8, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    @27 I received my child’s final report card via mail. If they want to they can. I have a child at an AC and at a SEHS, both mailed to me within the past week.

  • 29. @27  |  July 8, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    What school do your kids attend? The principals at both my kids schools sent an email indicating grades were final on June 17th by 5pm. Final grades most definitely should have been entered by the 20th & 21st! Yikes! Also, my kids were given their report cards on the last day of school and I knew about that from the principals’ email. Of course I really didn’t need the report card because I had already checked around 6pm on the 17th! I would call your network chief & as someone said above the school can mail the report card **if** they want to! Heck—ask them to scan it & email it to you!

  • 30. HSObsessed  |  July 8, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for the info, TAC and @29. We are at Lincoln Park HS.

  • 31. Newcomer  |  July 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    We also got our son’s report card by mail. SEHS.

  • 32. CLB  |  July 10, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    @27. Similar to what Chris points out above, there’s a $ incentive against making it easy to get report cards on all but the last day — average daily attendance for CPS determines state aid levels. Every child that skips a day costs CPS $.

  • 33. CLB  |  July 10, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    @20 This does not surprise me. The system is incredibly opaque and complex.

    Let’s say one wants to learn more about Academic Centers. At CPS’ website, I searched for “Academic Centers” and the top item was last updated 9 Oct. 2013. Even school level info is remarkably vague. At WY, I learn that there is a six-year plan during which my child would have “math” every year. What kinds of math? Maybe WY has a stellar open house, but based on my experience at other open houses, I’m dubious that I would get much more detailed info there. I’m surprised at how 1) difficult it is to find more detailed info about course offerings, and 2) how much parents seem to rely on reputation to make their decisions (e.g., X says WY’s AC is outstanding, and X’s child was accepted to Payton, so WY’s AC must be outstanding).

    We should also keep in mind that just any academic center might not necessarily be the best option for a student, especially one from the south side. Proximity concerns alone make it less likely that student would choose Lane or WY. It is not that Brooks or Kenwood are not good schools, but that the same student that could enter there could also be competitive for HS entry at Payton or Northside or LP’s IB Diploma program. Would academic center faculty urge the student or her parents to apply to the other schools? Also, if the student is flourishing at the current school and faculty are attentive, is it better to go to a new school for 7th-8th? Unless one is effectively home-schooling one’s child outside of school hours, the fact that a child gains entry to an AC indicates that the current school is doing a very good job educating the student.

  • 34. worldupsidedownblog  |  July 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    When deciding between an academic center and k-8 elementary, it all seems to be a personal decision, with one major deciding factor: the math curriculum. If your child goes to an academic center, they’ll likely have the opportunity to take algebra in 7th grade. At the k-8, they’ll get it in 8th. If algebra were offered to all 7th graders, the draw of an ac would be much less. By not choosing an academic center, your child is automatically a year behind their peers in math. Maybe sn and Edison offer it in 6th and 7th?

  • 35. Chris  |  July 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

    “the fact that a child gains entry to an AC indicates that the current school is doing a very good job educating the student”

    The AC test is an IQ-type/.style test, so it doesn’t *necessarily* follow.

    Yes, they have to be doing a pretty good job to have high enough MAP scores, but I think it is more a question of engagement, at a transitional age.

  • 36. CLB  |  July 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    @34 At the ACs, what math do they take in 8th grade?

  • 37. Cliff  |  July 11, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    @CLB 32

    The ADA used in determining state aid is based off the best 3 months of attendance only. The last month of the year is almost invariably the lowest in average attendance, so it actually doesn’t cost CPS any money to have missed days at the end of the year.

    It DOES affect a school’s attendance percentage, and the schools do care about that for accountability/rating purposes.

  • 38. @36  |  July 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    From my understanding the AC math curriculum looks like this:

    Many take Algebra in 7th and Geometry in 8th,
    Some take Pre-Algebra in 7th and Algebra in 8th,
    Few (very advanced students) take Geometry in 7th, and then I think Algebra II in 8th

    It sounds like some of the selective enrollment schools might offer a more advanced math curriculum (since those families are pretty happy keeping their kids at those schools for 7 and 8) I’m just not familiar enough with all the options. It’s all quite a puzzle.

  • 39. Chris  |  July 12, 2016 at 10:10 am

    “It sounds like some of the selective enrollment schools might offer a more advanced math curriculum (since those families are pretty happy keeping their kids at those schools for 7 and 8) ”

    The former does not necessarily follow from the latter. While there certainly are some parents/kids for whom the math curriculum is the paramount consideration, that is *certainly* not the majority of the SEES population.

  • 40. Ike O  |  July 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

    thx but check again, it looks likelane percentages are off

  • 41. IB/IB mom (formerly IB and AC mom)  |  July 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Many SEES do offer Algebra and Geometry much like the AC’s, the big difference is they are not taught by a high school teacher so they will not receive high school credit. Which depending on their grades may be a good or bad thing. Though they may have the opportunity to test out of those classes in high school. I am not sure if that is decided alone by the placement test or if there are other tests administered after they are admitted.

  • 42. CLB  |  July 12, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks, Cliff. Didn’t know that.

  • 43. cpsobsessed  |  July 13, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    FYI, here are the # of actual students who applied by Tier.
    There are 4x as many Tier 4 kids as Tier 1, which explains why the requirements are so high in Tier 4. Lots of kids, not a lot of spots.

    3186 AC Applicants.
    Tier 1: 354
    Tier 2: 544
    Tier 3: 878
    Tier 4: 1410

  • 44. cpsobsessed  |  July 13, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    This is the acceptance rates by Tier – as MM pointed out initially, the actual rate isn’t as low as it looks when it’s based on # of applications:

    Tier 1 43%
    Tier 2 38%
    Tier 3 32%
    Tier 4 27%
    TOTAL 32%

    Of course you have to keep in mind that probably only the top kids are applying, which explains these rather high acceptance rates. My Tier 4 kid had a zero chance of getting in, not a 27% chance.

  • 45. NearNorthMom  |  July 14, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I am confused about the algebra teaching, my soon to be 4th grade son when doing IXL can access algebra on-line and his classroom teachers support this learning so I am confused when people state their students are not getting algebra to 7th grade. It has been my experience CPS teachers will support the level of learning your child is capable of doing. It’s also my experience Parents don’t encourage their Principals and Teachers enough to provide this more tailored learning.. If you don’t ask you are less likely to receive more intense differentiated learning – it’s sure worth asking.

  • 46. @45 and 41  |  July 14, 2016 at 8:51 am

    @45 The teachers in CPS just don’t have the capacity to teach each student an entirely different curriculum. Certainly differentiation happens, but it’s not an entire course. We do ask for, and have received differentiated learning. But, for a child working 4+ grades above, it’s not enough, and we take the responsibility at home to supplement and keep him excited.

    @41 Thank you, that makes a lot of sense, I didn’t think about the credit piece. I guess it’s not really important unless you want your kid to graduate early for some reason.

  • 47. Chris  |  July 14, 2016 at 9:21 am

    ” I am confused when people state their students are not getting algebra to 7th grade.”

    Are you actually confused?

    People are talking about the ‘normal’ curriculum for the schools they are familiar with. The ‘normal’ math curriculum at the ACs for 7th grade is ‘honors’ algebra for those who are ready, and pre-algebra for those who are not. I believe that the ‘normal’ math curriculum for all 7th grade options classes is also algebra, and for neighborhood schools it is typically pre-algebra.

  • 48. Chris  |  July 14, 2016 at 9:24 am

    “I guess it’s not really important unless you want your kid to graduate early”

    Or for electives, or for taking college level classes while still in HS.

    There are other benefits to getting HS requirements done early aside from graduating early.

  • 49. Angela  |  July 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

    For those of you who have a child going to an AC for 7th grade or 8th, did your child go to a SEES gifted or Classical School? We are offered a spot at Decatur for 6th grade. Not sure if we should jump or not.

  • 50. Chicago School GPS  |  July 14, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Thanks for the clarifying numbers, CPSO, in @43 & @44. It looks like the number of SY15-16 kids who got accepted to ACs was:
    Tier 1- 152
    Tier 2- 207
    Tier 3- 281
    Tier 4- 380
    for a total of 1,020 spots

    As others said, ACs are definitely not for every kid and families often don’t realize that their transcripts/GPA for college entry will be impacted by their work starting in 7th grade.

  • 51. mathmom  |  July 14, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Agreed Chris, I just figured if they can test out of those classes and land in the same advanced class had they taken the credit courses, then the credit is only important for graduation requirements.

    (To make this thread less confusing, I’ll call myself mathmom from now on.)

  • 52. Chris  |  July 14, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    “their transcripts/GPA for college entry will be impacted by their work starting in 7th grade”

    This only really matters for “formula” schools.

    Schools that actually read an application are going to see that C in Honors Bio (or whatever) was in 7th grade, and not hold that against a kid who excels from 9th grade on.

    So, yeah, likely negative for (say) UIUC, but not for (say) Oberlin or Grinnell.

  • 53. Jen K  |  July 14, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    @49 it is grades from 5th that count toward the AC entrance formula, so even if your child switches in 6th, I can’t see how that would provide an advantage. If it was me, I wouldn’t move to Decatur in 6th because then I’d be forced to find a new school for 7th (not guaranteed an AC spot). It depends on your situation; how unhappy are you with your current school?

    My AC student did not attend an SEES or Classical school.

  • 54. WRP Mom  |  July 14, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    @49 Angela, when it comes to AC acceptances, I agree there would be no real advantage in switching into Decatur for 6th. Two thirds of the points are determined in 5th grade so all that is left is the AC test which is an IQ type test. I do not see how going to Decatur for a few months before testing would have any impact on how your child scores.

    My child graduated from Decatur and I will say 6th grade was a fantastic year. The teachers were first rate and really engaging in that grade. That said, I do not know if it is worth switching to Decatur this late in the game as you will have to turn around and change schools again for 7th. And, of course, there are no guarantees your child will get an AC acceptance. At least, if you stay at your present school and don’t get accepted at an AC, you at least have a back up through 8th grade.

    My child did get into an AC and elected to stay there for high school. Her classmates while in the AC came from all different types of elementary schools. RGC/Classical, magnet, neighborhood and private were all represented.

  • 55. cpsobsessed  |  July 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    @50 did I mess up the math? The 9/9 for Morgan Park Tier 1/2 was reported as a *, since it was less than 10 and I plugged in values there, so I may have messed that up. I’ll check again.

  • 56. cpsobsessed  |  July 14, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I would agree with not taking a 6th grade Decatur spot unless you have a highly adaptable, outgoing child. They’ll have to make new friends in 6th grade and then start again in 7th. I suspect perhaps some of the routines at Decatur may take a while to get used to as well. So by the time they’re settled in, it’s the end of the year.

  • 57. cpsobsessed  |  July 14, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    @Angela, regarding AC acceptance, you should have your child’s 5th grade grades and MAP scores at this point so you should have a decent idea whether they have a shot at getting into an AC that is geographically desirable for you. You child would be taking the AC entry exam in the Fall/Winter so as pointed out above, being at Decatur for 4-5 months likely won’t provide much of an advantage academically.

  • 58. Rnorth  |  July 19, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Is Selective prep worth it? How similar were the questions in the actual test to the prep work from selective prep?

  • 59. Another Mom  |  July 20, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Regarding Selective Prep:

    Whether or not the classes are beneficial will depend on your student. When we were going through the AC process, I enrolled my kid for SP hoping it will give him an edge for the IQ type test. I can only evaluate this portion, as he didn’t take prep for MAP test.

    They gave them the diagnostic test in the beginning of the session, and then at the end. According to my son, the test was identical, so I asked the instructor to look at both test: majority of mistakes he made were the same on both tests. I was very disappointed that they didn’t go over individual mistakes that kids made and didn’t discuss in detail why the chosen answer was wrong. In retrospect, SP is just not good environment for my kid: he hated the classes, the only time he was doing homework was in a car, he thought the whole idea of this type of activity was stupid. He got into a fight with an instructor during the first session when she was explaining some math problem and how to solve it using a “trick”.
    This was the first time in his life when he was being taught how to pass a test, rather then how to learn and understand the material and it made him miserable.
    I loved his instructor: she was very intelligent, professional and pleasant.
    I don’t regret signing him for SP, as the biggest lesson he learned from it, is the difference between learning to pass something and learning to know something.
    He doesn’t represent the majority of kids that are taking this prep class. Out of about 15-17 kids that were in his group, 3 of them were attending WYAC this year.
    My son got a perfect 300 on the IQ type test, and 99/98 on the Math/English MAP.
    He is very greatful to be attending WYAC, where he never studies to pass, but only to learn.
    I discussed in depth with him if he thinks SP gave him an edge, he is honestly not sure.

  • 60. Rnorth  |  July 20, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Thank you for your feedback. Congrats to your son for getting into WYAC with a perfect score. Did he do any other kind of prep besides SP?

  • 61. Another Mom  |  July 20, 2016 at 11:44 pm


    Thank you, WY is a really great fit for him. He feels at home there and is happier then he has ever been, and that is saying a lot considering he just turn 13 and is full of hormones!

    We didn’t do any other prep, but he was always academically strong. When he was 6 years old, we stumbled on test prep material in a book store in London He really liked the books (he thought they were puzzles), so I bought some, he says that the questions on the test resembled those in the British books. He also picked up origami as a hobby when he was 8, although it lasted a little over a year, I assume it helped him a lot when it came to paper folding exercises on the Selective Enrollment test.

    My son says that there is a number of kids who were heavily tutored before the admission test, and that most of those kids have a harder time in WYAC. I would never blame any parent for providing extra help when it comes to the admission to the school, but if you do, I would encourage you to continue to help your child once he/she is in.

    Over the last year I had a pleasure of meeting my son’s friends, 7th and 8th graders, some of them are just brilliant: without much effort they consume and understand tremendous amount of new material. A few of them didn’t know what was going the morning their parent woke them up and told them that they have to take a test in IIT that morning.

  • 62. Rnorth  |  July 21, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Wow.You have been very helpful. Thank you!!

  • 63. Cpsmess  |  July 25, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    @ Chris

    Can you explain what you mean by grades for 7/8 at AC being part of formula schools or any college? Unless you are referring exclusively to the classes the take for high school credit?

  • 64. Chris  |  July 26, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    I meant that a college that takes GPA & Test Scores and runs it thru a “formula” to determine admissions is *very likely* not going to adjust for the fact that the C in Algebra was in 7th grade–it’s HS credit, so it’s HS GPA. Now, it’s technically an Honors class, so I’d expect the C to show up as a 3.0 on the transcript, but I dunno if any given “formula” admissions departments will back that out (and treat it as a 2.0) or not.

    A “whole student” admissions department is *very likely* to notice that the C was in 7th grade, and not give that as much weight as the courses taken, and grades received, from 9th on.

    In both cases, “very likely” is NOT an indication of certainty–undoubtedly there are ‘formula’ admissions that have a way of accounting for it, and “whole student” schools that would hold it against a kid.

    But I am very much of the mind that worrying that a C in a HS class in 7th grade is going to be a significant college admissions demerit is approaching the question way too narrowly.

  • 65. Chicago School GPS  |  August 2, 2016 at 11:06 am

    CPSOAE finally has some news about the NWEA MAP test for those interested in applying to 5th-9th grade:

    Register by Sept. 9!

  • 66. Another Mom  |  August 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Not sure if this is the right thread to ask, but have other CPS parents received MAP scores that the children took this Spring?

    My kid also took MAP in the beginning of the year (Fall semester) because he was a new CPS student, and we never received his results in the mail…. 😦

  • 67. Chris  |  August 4, 2016 at 10:08 am

    “never received his results in the mail”

    We always have received by backpack mail.

  • 68. SCM  |  August 24, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    I am fairly new to CPS, my child goes to what I believe to be a top 10 or top 15 neighborhood school (Sauganash Elementary), scores 96/99 range on the last MAP scores and has had pretty much straight A’s since 1st grade. Being relatively new to this process (it is SO confusing!), my question is simple – would there be much to gain by sending my child to an AC when the neighborhood school ranks fairly high? I guess I think about having to readjust, make new friends (my child is fairly introverted), etc. and I wonder if it is all worth the change for 2 years. Anyone with experience that can comment?

    Also, I understand that enrollment guarantees a spot in the AC’s high school, however, does attending an AC improve the chances of getting into a selective enrollment high school if one were to not attend the AC HS?

  • 69. Jen K  |  August 25, 2016 at 7:33 am

    @68 my daughter goes to an AC and here’s my opinion: if you think your child isn’t being challenged at your current school, then try for an AC. Academic Centers were designed as 6-year programs so most students continue at the same High School. The 7th grade program can be a tough adjustment for some students, and grades will reflect the new challenge. Meaning: straight As isn’t going to be so easy. That makes it much harder to get accepted at another SEHS in 9th grade.

    If you know you want WY, Lane, Taft or other HS that has an AC, go for it. However if you want to keep your HS options open and your child is happy and challenged, my advice is to stay put. Keep in mind you can go through the process and apply but not accept if offered a seat.

  • 70. westrogersparkmom  |  August 25, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Both my children went to AC’s. My oldest still went through the high school application process but there was an element of calm because there was always the viable option of staying in the AC. The youngest is entering 8th and will remain for high school. As a family we had a rough rough year last year and I am go grateful I didn’t have to keep an eye on 7th grade grades all year on top of everything else.

    I am a HUGE advocate of AC’s for both academic and social reasons. However, if you have your heart set on a non-AC SEHS you are taking a risk with grades.

  • 71. IB/IB mom (formerly IB and AC mom)  |  August 25, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    @68 The main benefit of the AC’s is all of the High School credits they will earn. These are high school classes being taught by high school teachers. They will get the credit, but if they don’t do well it will affect their GPA and chances for any other SE schools. As I fill out college applications with my eldest they do ask about high school classes taken before 9th grade. I really do think it is beneficial. And if your child is a straight A student, I think they will do well. If you love your school and he/she has friends that they don’t want to leave, it will be a hard time switching, but he/she will make new friends as they are all starting new together and if they stay for high school they all transition together which is not as big of a deal starting high school normally. Starting out with a new group of about 120 kids that mainly take the same classes is easier then starting out with a group of up to anywhere from 250 – 1000 (rough estimates) all taking different classes. Keep that in mind for your introvert!

  • 72. harry potter  |  August 25, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Colleges ask what high school classes kids take before high school? I didn’t know that. I have a 6th grader taking Algebra (not CPS, I’m here because I used to teach in CPS) and I never knew that. Interesting.

  • 73. WYAC8  |  October 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    @72 I think that the only way for a class to count towards college is if you take it at an Academic Center. The grade you’re in would be written as “Pre 9” (or something like that). All the classes worth credit will be included in the GPA you use to apply for college. The grading system at Young (I’m not sure about the other schools) is by semester (like high school) so if your kid has a B at the end of the first quarter, he has the rest of the semester to turn it into an A. Many students find that helpful.

  • 74. Jack  |  September 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I thought CPS accepts equal numbers of students from each tier. Clearly here, it’s shown that they accept more tier four students. I mean, a lot are applying but it’s unfair because there are less spots for the other tiers.

  • 75. IB/IB mom (formerly IB and AC mom)  |  September 18, 2017 at 9:12 am

    @74 Jack – they take 30% off the top first so it doesn’t matter what tier they are in and then they 17.5% from each of the four tiers.

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