Posts tagged ‘brentano elementary’

What Do Levels Mean?

Level 1

CPS just reassigned levels to each CPS school.  From what I’ve read, some have gone up (news for celebration, as Senn, Amunden, and Roosevelt have shown improvement) as well as Brentano elem, which parents are working together to support.

Lake View High School has been downgraded to Level 3, which comes as a surprise.

Matt Farmer, local grassroots pro education, anti-reformer, down-to-earthy kinda guy wrote a HuffingtonPost article noting what seems to be a lack of rhyme or reason to the method, as some schools that are relatively decent scoring are Level 3 while others that look pretty bad are not.  See his article here:

One of our favorite sometimes posters, Todd Pytel, teacher at Senn wrote this up last year about the Level caclulations, that could help make some sense out of it.  See below.

I commented on Facebook last night that Level should be just 1 measure that parents look at among others, but as a friend of mine pointed out, not everyone is going to dig into school data like I am and that 1 number can really sway parents.  I’d like to learn more about Lake View’s shift to see what’s driving the math behind it.  Also curious if anyone is aware of any other noteworthy shifts in Level?  If so, post them below.


For high schools, at least, the total points are split 50/50 between achievement and trend. Also, the trend benchmarks are themselves given as absolute changes, not relative ones. Consequently, there are roughly two kinds of schools that can score highly…

1) Highly selective schools. These schools should get nearly all of the achievement points on the basis of their student population, so they’re starting with 50%. If they can improve even a little bit on a few measures, they’ll hit Level 1. There are no trend points subtracted for losing ground.

2) Middle and lower-middle tier schools with rapidly “improving” student bodies. These schools can score a ton of trend points by improving on previously poor performance and probably pick up enough achievement points to score well.

Conversely, the system makes it extremely difficult for other kinds of schools to score well…

3) Upper middle tier schools with stable student populations. These schools are unlikely to score all of the achievement points without the super-competitive students of the top tier schools. At the same time, they have relatively decent scores already and will likely not see huge improvements that will net them many trend points. This kind of school will probably not go to Level 3, but would struggle to ever hit Level 1.

4) True neighborhood schools with highly disadvantaged students. These schools will struggle to score any achievement points at all. And without the benefit of special programs bringing in stronger students, even their trend points will be limited. Even with outstanding leadership, such a school could not improve its meets/exceeds number by 5% year after year, for example. This kind of school might hit Level 2 for a while with excellent leadership, but eventually will run out of realistic trend points to make and drop back to Level 3.

All that being said, I think the Level system is a reasonably accurate measure for parents of “where you want your kid”. I don’t, however, think it’s a very accurate measure of the quality of leadership and staff within a building. A highly selective school can basically tread water and score Level 1 (though I’m not claiming they do). And a really well-run neighborhood school serving a tough population will nearly always be stigmatized with a Level 3.

October 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm 148 comments




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