Posts filed under ‘Test scores’

2016 SEES GIFTED and CLASSICAL Elem Thread


National Teachers Academy


Share scores, questions, and knowledge here about gifted and classical programs. And remember, the process takes some time to work through the lists.   Please post: School Score Tier.

Remember, the process takes some time to work through.  SEES go through multiple rounds so it may take a couple months for initial offers to go out.  Some families get spots the week before school starts or even that first week if you’re willing to make a move.

In addition, several schools (Bell, Beaubien, Keller) add classes at the 1st grade Level (as does Decatur every other year.)

Letters are due to mail out on Monday, March 28th.


March 26, 2016 at 9:50 pm 1,320 comments

Are you smarter than a third grader ? (Guest post by HSObsessed)

Thanks to the wonderful HSObsessed (I think I owe you dinner at this point) we have another insightful posting – this time about the new ISAT scores that are out.  As a fellow data lover, I’m excited to start poring through them.   In a nutshell, she’s scared me into thinking that the parents of young kids need to get on the ball to expand the high school options, as there will be a glut of high scoring kids in the system in about 5 years.  Read on….

The newest ISAT scores are now available on the CPS website. I’ve provided the link to the CPS data below, as well as a link to a spreadsheet I created about 3rd graders.
I’m always most interested in looking at scores from the 3rd graders, because they reflect the abilities of new schools that just started up or those that have undergone big changes in programming for the youngest grades.
I’m also most interested in looking at the “exceeds standards” scores. While it’s nice to see what percentage in a school “meet or exceeds” standards, the ISATs are not terribly  challenging — they’re testing to see whether kids are learning the basics of each grade — and I think it’s widely agreed that it’s not really hard to “meet” standards. I also think that a core group of kids who are not just meeting minimum criteria, but going beyond, provides a class, a grade, a school with a “core” group of kids who can help raise the bar for all the kids around them, and who can keep parents confident in a school’s ability to provide a strong learning environment.
So I looked at the 2011 “exceeds” scores for 3rd graders, and what I see is really encouraging. Out of 500 elementary schools in the grid, 63 have 50% or more of their 3rd graders exceeding standards, which I believe is a record number. In 2010, there were only 43 schools, in 2009 37 schools, and in 2008, only 29 schools.
Looking at the list of the top schools, I note that there’s a huge variety of school “type”: 8 are test-in only (red), 13 are citywide magnets (purple), 31 are neighborhood schools (some accept via lottery if space is available — in black), 6 are neighborhood schools with gifted centers (blue), and 5 are charter schools (green). (Skinner West does have a neighborhood component, but the neighborhood kids haven’t hit 3rd grade yet, so I’ve left it as a “test in” school for now.)
If you looked at how many schools had 50% or more of their TOTAL student population of 3rd through 8th graders exceeding standards in 2011, it’s only 22 schools. So this means there’s a huge crop of smart third graders in CPS. Why? More preschool before kindergarten built a strong foundation? Better instruction for lower grades? Better test prep? More affluent families staying in the city (voluntarily or otherwise) and choosing or being forced to enroll their kids in public schools? I don’t know.
I think this bodes well for CPS as a whole, but it will be a challenge to put forth strong middle-school instruction in three years, and then to  provide safe and academically challenging high school programs for this wave of go-getters in another six years.
All CPS data can be found here:
My little spreadsheet:

June 30, 2011 at 6:20 am 112 comments

CPS Data – ISATs online, No big CPS book printed this year

I just noticed that the 2010 ISAT scores are now available for viewing, which is like Christmas morning for data geeks like me.

Take a look here to find a school of interest:

Input the school name and scroll down to the ISAT over time Excel files.  Without ELL are the scores that exclude English Language Learners (who by nature of language barriers, will likely bring down a school’s test scores.)  For the whole school, look at ISAT Over Time with ELL.
Column G is Grade.  For the whole school scores, scroll down to the rows that say 3rd through 8th grade combined and look at the row that says 2010.  Columns I,J,K show the % of kids who Meet/Exceed IL State Standards.  If you scroll to the right, you’ll see more breakouts.  If you scroll down, you can find breakouts by race, gender, and free lunch status.  Interesting stuff.

In other news, I just found out that the big CPS School guidebook (like the phonebook of CPS) will not be published in printed form this year, but will only be online.  This is such a shame.  I get it, but it can be handy to have it in a form where you can flip through page by page.  I hope it’s redesigned for online usage, as it didn’t always translate well to the web.  That will be ready in late October.

3rd thru 8th Grade Combined

September 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm 3 comments

Elementary School Rankings

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.,chicago-elementary-schools-rank-1009.article

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.



November 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm 11 comments

Wow, CPS kicks butt… if you’re Asian

As an LSC member at my neighborhood school (I’m on as a community member) I received and interesting pamphlet from CPS call “On the Same Page.”  It’s filled with some of the key data about CPS and some of it is very eye-opening.
The test score information by race is particularly interesting (and simultaneously depressing.)  By overall race, results in CPS vary dramatically.  To CPS’ credit, scores for all races, especially African American and Hispanic have increased greatly in the past 5 years (meaning the # of kids who meet ISAT standards.)  But mainly because they were so abysmally low back in 2004.  Here’s some numbers:

2008 % of Elementary Kids Meeting ISAT Standards
Asian:       93%
White:       87%
Hispanic: 74%
Af-Am       58%

2008 % of Elementary Kids Exceeding ISAT Standards
Asian:       44%
White:       36%
Hispanic: 13%
Af-Am         8%

2008 ACT Score of 20+
Asian:       64%
White:       60%
Hispanic: 22%
Af-Am       13%

2008 Graduation Rate
Asian:       77%
White:       62%
Hispanic: 57%
Af-Am       51%

So those Asian/Pacific Islander families are utilizing CPS quite well, it seems.  44% exceed ISAT standards?!  That is pretty good!  In fact I’d like to have some seminars called “How to Get Your Child Through CPS Like an Asian Family Does.”  Hopefully that doesn’t sound impressive… I would just truly like to know how this group stand out above the others.  I imagine a strong focus on education and academics above all else must be involved.

White kids fare nearly as well, but their graduation rate is a lot lower than the Asian kids.

Obviously something is lacking in the system for Af-Am and Hispanic students.  Of course that is the million dollar question in school systems like Chicago, LA, and NYC.  From the little reading I’ve done, it’s much more than just inadequate schooling, but a range of social and socio-economic issues that come into play that are challenging to incorporate into a school system’s strategy.  From other CPS newsletters I get, it seems that some schools with large minority populations have started to crack the code to success, as have some of the charter schools, but clearly there’s still quite a ways to go.  I wish I knew what the answer was….

May 29, 2009 at 1:25 pm 9 comments

New CPS Test Scores

New CPS test scores (for tests taken last Spring) have been published.  I cannot for the life of me find them on the CPS website ( but you can locate your school here:

One important thing to note is that for this testing period, students who are considered English Language Learners were required to take the English ISATs for the first time.  As a result, schools with a large population of ELL students likely suffered some declines.  There had also been talk of some type of score inflation last year that was never fully explained, which could also lead to declines at some schools. 

When you look at a school’s overall test scores, keep in mind that ISAT scores are reported only for grades 3rd-8th.  Younger kids are tested, but not reported (not sure if they are given ISATs or something else.)  The typical % you will see is the % of kids who are at or above the state’s acceptable level for that subject.  You can also find the % of students who are exceeding that level, which to me is often more telling – is the school going above and beyond somehow?

Things can look depressing in some schools, in some classes.  You can find North side schools where only half the kids in a certain grade are reading at the acceptable level.  I used to cringe at these and wonder what CPS was doing wrong.  But now that I actually have a child in school and have helped in the classroom, I also have to wonder about the parents.  Why don’t the parents of those kids all march into the school and try to figure out a way to teach their kids to read?  If I found out that half my child’s class was reading below where they should be, I’d be rallying the troops.  And I don’t mean getting on the case of the teacher or principal.  I think it’s gotta be a team effort somehow.  There is not enough time in the day in CPS for every kid to get the special attention they deserve.  It’s just a fact.  A sad fact.  So mobilize, parents!  Be a village!  An intrusive, meddling village if need be.  Just get in there and figure out how to help the kids and how to help the parents who don’t realize that they can butt into the educational process.

UPDATE: From the comment below, here is another way to look at school test scores for 2008 (I did notice that the 2008 parent survey results are still not posted.)

December 2, 2008 at 10:31 am 3 comments




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