Test scores, school demo-graphics and measures of success

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee and the HPKCC website, www.hydepark.org
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To School News home. To Schools/Education Resources Directory. To News of/from Schools. Your school's scores and progress through time- to Illinois Report Card links. Also chicagotribune.com/schools.



Find statewide school rankings and success/weakness on the 5 Essentials:

Official: www.illinoispostcard.com, More detailed: Illinois.5-essentials.org.

Announced November 2015- new rankings and SQRP, as reported in the Herald Digest Nov. 23 by Allison Matyus

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recently released its yearly rating of its schools, known as the School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) for 2015.

The ratings are 1+, 1, 2+, 2 and 3, from highest to lowest. Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., received the highest score of a level 1+ school.

While other Hyde Park schools remained at the same rating for 2015, two schools went down a level in their SQRP.

Phillip Murray Elementary Language Academy, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave., went from a level 1+ rating in 2014 to a level 1 rating in 2015. Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., received a level 1 in 2014, but went down in 2015 at a level 2+.

Both schools still remain at a good standing according to their SQRP scores.

STATE OF HPK SCHOOLS DECEMBER 2014 CPS PRES. TO THE CAC. (It is 8 MB and one slide may have error).

August, December 2014. Shoesmith is now a Tier 1 school, Harte also, Murray (magnet) best at 1+ HPK schools in general made strides forward in the last academic year.

CPS has changed ranking of schools from 1-3 (1 being top) to 1+, 1, 2+, 2, and 3 (1+ being best).
Murray from 2 to 1+
Bret Harte- goes from 2 to 1
Kenwood Academy High from 2 to 1
Canter (closed spring 2014) from 3 to 1
Shoesmith from 2 to 1
Ray from 2 to 2+
Kozminski from 3 to 2
Reavis from 3 to 2

The February 12 2013 Tribune carries a major feature on the coming impacts of raised state standards for test scores in anticpation of Common Core.
October 30 the state results were released. Among the more dismal is a correlation perceived by the Tribune between the amount of drop in a school its proportion of low-income students. Kenwood 7th-8th grade Academic Center ranked 12th statewide, clinging to 95% or better meeting state standards. No other local school stood out either for excellence or for steep or relatively little drop. Visit schools.chicagotribune.com and search for all kinds of data (not just test scores) by school or district. Also illinoisreportcard.com.

School Progress Reports were sent home with students in early December 2012. Area results are posted in the Hyde Park Herald website, http://www.hpherald.com.
The format is new. This one covers 2011 into 2012. A few:
Kenwood Academy: Level 2- average student growth, below average performance, partially organized school culture and climate, freshmen on track rose from 70.2 to 71. 5 (district 75.3).
Shoesmith is a Level 2 and off probation , above average student growth, below average performance, partially organized school culture and climate.
Ray is a level 2 with average student growth, average student performance, data missing for rest.
Murray is a magnet Level 1 school with above average student growth, above average student performance and partially organized school culture and climate.

In October 2012, the Sun-Times ranked Kenwood's Academic Center 36th in the Metro region and 43rd in Illinois. The High School was ranked 3rd among neighborhood high schools in Chicago.

2012. Kenwood (a neighborhood school), as well as King (a selective school), was cited for its quality in Chicago Magazine August /Sept.2012 issue. Kenwood ranked 15 with 85.1 graduation rate, Act at 18.9 and 45.4% at or above state standard.
King was 9th at 86.6 graduation, ACT 20.2, 56.9 meet or exceed.
No elementary schools from the area made this issue's rankings of to 20 Chicago elementary schools

City-wide scores rose modestly or plateaued, depending on point of view. In 2012 elementary percentage meeting or exceeding on state tests was 74.2 v. 74.3 in 2011 (2002 it was 44.1, 2006 61.8). The pioneer longer day schools did better only because of one soaring school (Fiske). AUSL turnaround schools improved by 2.5% (3 times district average) but only to 63.9%. Charters did a bit better than the average at 76.6 and non-charters a half-point lower. Charters are slated to get more money per as well as more students next year. Increased school day did not work miracles, and what was in the added minutes has not yet been analyzed. Also, the "Exceeds" record is pretty dismal- and that's the predictor for college success. Also, as predicted due to the stress on teaching to tests, particularly in reading and math, science scores in some schools went down substantially.

Check your school online in suntimes.com and tribune.com. However, you cannot look at all the schools in your area unless you subscribe to the online rights (Sun-Times otherwise has a limit of 20 pages in 30 days to look at free.)

Here are some local results-- the scores in Hyde Park and Kenwood schools are mostly down or flat in 2012, the seven that could be examined (Canter, Harte, Kenwood, King, Kozminski, Murray, and Ray) were down only modestly except: Canter in Science (-6.2), Harte in Science (-15), and Kozminski in reading (-4.1).
The good news- Kozminski in Science (+11.5), Murray in Science (+10.2).

Local Area 15 2010 ISAT preliminary

Only Canter, Kozminski, Reavis, Shoesmith remain in Area 15 of HPK schools. Harte, Ray, Murray and Carnegie in Woodlawn are AMPS or in other areas. Pershing Middle (P) is the gold standard for this area and indeed mid South middle schools, with Canter and Woodlawn Community not far behind.
2010 percentage meeting or exceeding (P 83), Canter 80- dramatic improvement, Shoesmith 62, Kozminski 58, Reavis 51, Price 48
% change from 2009 (Dumas 13%, Pershing 2.5 but was very high), Canter +4.5, Reavis .5, Kozminski -2.5, Kozminski -3, Shoesmith -8.
% exceeds (Pershing 18.5), Canter 11.5, Shoesmith nearly 9, Kozminski 6.5, Reavis 2.
Change in exceeds (Pershing 6.5), Canter 3+, Shoesmith .3, Reavis .3, Kozminski -.5>
% meet or exceed Reading. Canter % Pershing 83, Kozminski 60.5, Shoesmith 60, Reavis 59.
Change meet/exceed Reading. Canter 3.5, Kozminski -1.5, Shoesmith -3, Reavis -4+/
% exceeds 2010 Reading (Pershing 25), Shoesmith 13.5, Kozminski 8, Canter 7, Reavis 4.5.
Change in exceeds from 2009 Reading. Canter 1.8, Shoesmith 1, Reavis .3, Kozminski -1.
% meets/exceeds Math. (Pershing 83), Canter 75, Shoesmith 70, Kozminski 60, Reavis 55.
Change in meets/exceeds Math. (Pershing 3) Reavis 2, canter 0, Kozminski -5.5, Shoesmith -8
% exceeds Math (Pershing 19), Canter 17.5, Shoesmith 6+, Kozminski under 6, Reavis 4.5.
Change in exceeds Math. (Pershing 9), Canter 4, Shoesmith .5, Reavis -.2, Kozminski -3
%meets or exceeds 20010 Science. Canter leads all at 85%, Kozminski 50, shoesmith 45, Reavis 43
Change in meets or exceeds Science
. Canter leads a 17%, Revis 7, Kozminski 2, Shoesmith -22.
% exceeds Science. Canter leads at 10%, Kozminski 5, Shoesmith 1.7, Reavis 0
Change in exceeds from 2009 Science. Canter leads at 4.3, Kozminski .2, Reavis no change, Shoesmith -2.8.

At the end of 2009, three local elementary schools (Shoesmith, Reavis, Kozminski) were put on probation and middle school Canter was being reviewed it for a combination of falling or non-advancing scores and failure to meet on-time and attendance (95%) standards. While the scores certainly were not advancing (and mostly dropping for 2009), thus not meeting the objective of the school "growing" with real impact on student growth year to year. The new practice of comparing two current years with the two before that to get trends and of insisting all scores advance, as well as using the work "probation" which used to mean next step to closing or cleaning house were by some called a disservice (the Herald said "staining" schools that are trying mightily with limited resources.

So, what were the scores?
Shoesmith: ISAT reading: 2006 68.6%, 2007 59, 2008 73, 2009 63 (quite a see-saw)
Exceeding ISAT: 2006-07 11%, 2008 12.8, 2009 8.7 (is this a bump or a setback?)
ISAT exceed state stand. highest grade: 2007 10.3%, 2008 9.3, 2009 8 (consistent drop)
Attendance : 94.3 vs req'd 95%

Canter: ISAT reading: 2006 78.2, 2007 81.1, 2008 84.2, but in 2009 80.4 (does this mean stagnant?)
ISAT Math: 2006-07 73%, 2008 77.7, but 2009 a modest drop to 75.6
Science: 2006 81.6, 2007-08 73, 2009 66.4 (looks like an ongoing slide)

Reavis: ISAT Math 2006 43.3, 2007 51.7, 2008 57.4, 2009 53.5 (is this 1-year slide meaningful?)
Science: 2006 46.2, 2007 44.4, 2008 41.1, 2009 35.3 (steadily from bad to worse)
Attendance: 94.8 (nearly at the minimum).

So what are some of the schools doing about this?

Shoesmith: evaluating, finding ways to inform and impress on parents how important it is to get their kids to school, and on time (the two are related, they find), no excuses. The PAC has a "coffee and..." program for parents who watch over kids in the morning and talk to parents about attendance and upcoming activities and the school. The staff says it is aggressive with chronically absent students. There is tutoring morning and evening in math and reading.
Ismail Turay of the LSC and HPKCC Schools Committee was quoted in the Herald that there should be a collaborative to get all schools to be performing and that principals of the schools should confer on the probation challenge since the schools funnel into Canter, then Kenwood. The Kenwood Principal is seeking such meetings with the principals, suggesting on attendance what they do--have an audit committee over attendance looking every day and to address straying as soon as it starts.
The Canter principal has held planes on ways to increase preparedness for Kenwood.



Dichotomy and mixed message from elementary to high school?

Scores reported in the March 4 2009 Herald

Numbers after enrollment are % at grade level or above, in the following order: (enrollment), ISAT composite, reading, math, science

Ariel (enr. 437) 84.4, 84.1, 87.1, 77.0
Canter (261) 79.4, 84.1, 77.7, 73.3
Harte (424) 19.9, 19.1, 22.9, 11.5-- these are the percentages that are in the highest ranks
actual Harte numbers are 77,4, 75.2, 82.3, 67.2
King High (899) 47.3, 54.5, 47.2
Murray (473) 89.8, 88.2, 92.1, 87.1
Price (288) 44.2, 590.4, 40.3, 37.0
Reavis (390) 52.1, 50.2, 67.4, 41.1
Ray (672) 81.9, 79.7, 85.2, 76.7
Robinson (207) 68.6, 69.8, 67.4, N/A
Kenwood Acad. Ctr. 7-8th 99.7, 89.2?, 100, 100

Note: Harte as an AIM school now heavily uses the real-time diagnostic assessment test NWEA.

Reported from North Kenwood/Oakland UC Charter for 2008:

  • ISAT scores higher than those of CPS. In 2008, 71.6 percent of NK/O students met or exceeded state standards in reading, compared to 66.7 for CPS students.
  • Outstanding student achievement in mathematics. In 2008, 95.9 percent of NK/O third graders met or exceeded Illinois state mathematics standards, compared to 85.1 percent of state 3rd graders.

Reported from UC Charter-Woodlawn High for 2008:

ISAT, EXPORE and PLAN scores higher than those in of CPS. In 2008, 72.1 percent of Woodlawn middle school students met or exceeded Illinois standards compared to 67.8 percent of CPS students. Similarly, higher percentages of Woodlawn high school students made expected gains in math (54.6 percent) and science (52.6 percent) than did CPS students (51.9 and 49.9 percent respectively.
Woodlawn stresses NWEA test (adaptive assessment type) and uses as benchmark that 70% of entering are at or above 5th grade reading level.]

Over time reported by all UC Charter elem. and middle:

2007 66-70%, K-5 51-56
2009 ISAT 3rd graders 74-80 (CPS 61), 8th graders 80-87% (CPS 79), Reading/Math/Science 71-78,
2009 ISAT Math 82-87 and Woodlawn 87 (CPS 73, 74),
reading benchmarks- NKO from 56 in 2007 to 75 in 2009, Donoghue from 51 in 2007 to 61 in 2009.

These 2009 schools numbers are ISAT/PSAE composite, reading, math and science ()= enrollment:

Kenwood high (1575) 43.9, 51.2, 40.3, 40.1
Dyett (598) 3.3, 6.1, 2.4, 1.3

Area ISAT average including several more schools- 64.1, 65.4, 64.6, 55.5
City ISAT average- 65.8, 64.9, 68.6, 59.0

Area PSAE average including more schools- 14.4, 18.9, 12. 2, 11.9
City PSAE average- 21.0, 24.3, 20.9, 18.0

High Schools by CPS measures (2008 or 2009) (King is Selective Enr., Woodlawn charter):

Fresh Grad within 5 yrs- Dyett 42%, Hyde Park 55%, Kenwood 65%, King 81%
Grads in coll or post2ndy-Dyett 49%, Hyde Park 62%, Kenwood 64%, King 79%,
Non college employed- Dyett 40%, Hyde Park 52%, Kenwood 37%, King 31%,
One yr dropout rate- Dyett 16%, Hyde Park 12%, Kenwood 7%, King 4%, Woodlawn 0%
Meet or exceed PSAE- Dyett 3%, Hyde Park 14%, Kenwood 44%, King 47%,
Average ACT (Il av 20)-Dyett 14.4%, Hyde Park 15.7%, Kenwood 18.9%, King 19.5,
Score 20+ on ACT- Dyett 1%, Hyde Park 9%, Kenwood 35%, King 42%,
Making expected gains- Dyett 38%, Hyde Park 45%, Kenwood 56%, King 52%, Woodlawn 48% (56.6 math, 52.6 science v CPS av 52, 50)
Freshmen on track to grad- Dyett 45%, Hyde Park 62%, Kenwood 75%, King 79%
Students in adv plact- Dyett 8%, Hyde Park 7%, Kenwood 19%, King 24%,
Scoring 3+ on adv plact- Dyett 0%, Hyde Park 1%, Kenwood 23%, King 12%,
Av days absent per st- Dyett 67, Hyde park 61, Kenwood 31, King 23, Woodlawn 12
Partic. in extracurricular- Dyett 66%, Hyde Park 53%, Kenwood 68%, King 74%, Woodlawn 81%
Safe, respectful climate- Dyett 61%, Hyde Park 58%, Kenwood 84%, King 88%, Woodlawn 82%
Acad. rigor- Dyett 70%, Hyde Park 70%, Kenwood 82%, King 86%, Woodlawn 87%
Supportive teachers-staff- Dyett 70%, Hyde Park 65%, Kenwood 76%, King 73%, Woodlawn 78%
Nat'l Bd Certif teachers- Dyett 1, Hyde Park 1, Kenwood 7, King 3, Woodlawn 1
Days absent per teacher- Dyett 11, Hyde Park 11, Kenwood 9, King 10,
Cleanliness- Dyett B, Hyde Park B, Kenwood B, King B,
Parent satisfaction- Dyett Not Avail, Hyde Park 67%, Kenwood 94% (19 exc), King 91% (12 exc),



CPS has directories of schools including performance over three years. That for the lower grades is
CPS Elementary and Pre-K Scorecard Directory. Visit also www.chicagotribune.com/schools.
See also http://www.greatschools.net/ Browse for school. More links to specific schools: our Schools Directory page.
See also CPS 2010-2011 High School Directory, by school.

The National Center for Education Statistics announces the availability of QuickStats, a new data tool, at http://nces.ed.gov/datalab. QuickStats allows public access for data consumers -- such as policy makers, legislative staff, journalists, students, and others -- to answer questions using data collected by NCES.


Here is a list of schools with a link to each of their
pages in the "Illinois Interactive Report Card"
(http://iirc.niu.edu/). It has concise
information over time for each school (though the compiler- thanks, Julie Woestehoff-- couldn't find North Kenwood Oakland Charter) and then you can look at other toggles to get
other info. Supplied by Julie Woestehoff of Parents United for Responsible Education.





Hyde Park Career Academy High School

Kenwood Academy High School



North Kenwood Oakland Charter (appears to be not available in that site)





In fall 2008 it was reported that the percentage of schools in Illinois failing to make "adequate yearly progress" is going up significantly each year. But high schools are stalled. There has been media remark that the standards may be too low in elementary giving a false sense of achievement but remain very stiff for high just at the time students have trouble adjusting and tend to get discouraged.

To Table of 2006 results. Most local schools scores improved substantially in the 2006 Illinois Achievement Test. In fact, every school in Area 15 improved its composite scores. Canter jumped from 36.8 to 73.9% of 8th graders meeting or exceeding national standard. Granted, this school is concluding transition from a local to a group-fed middle school and Canter has worked very hard with AVID and Balanced Literacy, but there is nationwide talk about a glaring and growing gap between scores on state tests and national as states try to get around No Child Left Behind. ISAT is now being administered to every other grade through 8th.

For 2007, at best statewide results cast doubt that Illinois students seem not to be keeping pace with the nation and that Illinois has watered down its tests.

Note, the state report card, which usually comes out in the fall, was not released until March.

Also showing substantial improvement are Shoesmith, and Reavis. Kenwood's 7th 8th center has all students at grade level or above. The overall gain in the area is higher than the CPS average gain. Last year's big gainer, Harte, Murray and Ray stood pat. Kozminski saw some grades rise substantially another fall.

But several say there have been changes in scoring etc. that makes the results suspect, and with more grades taking the tests and IOWA out the window, comparison is difficult this year. On the other hand..... John Q. Easton of the Consortium of Chicago School Research U of C, told the media that review showed the results are accurate, but the increased time allowed makes it difficult to know whether last year's or this year's results are more reflective of skills. 2007 results (test are in progress) will show that.

Chris Stanek gives a basis for understanding:

  • 8th grade passing score was lowered from 67th to 38th percentile (as many other states did). Were Canter's gains real at all?
  • Passing scores for all other grades were kept the same, so increases there may be real. But students were given two preliminary tests to id deficiencies, the IOWA distraction was gone, and students were given an additional 10 minutes to take the test.


2006 quick comparison table from Herald. Percentage meeting or exceeding nat'l. standard

    ISAT Reading ISAT Rdg ISAT Math ISAT math ISAT Science ISAT Sci ISAT Comp ISAT Comp
School Grade 2006 2005 2006 2005 2006 2005 2006 2005
Bret Harte 3 70.6 70.4 78.4 72.2     74.5 71.3
Harte 5 63.2 72.9 78.9 76.3     71.1 74.6
Canter 7 77.6   73.8   82.8 6.4 77.9 6.4
Canter 8 79.7 76.6 73.9 36.8     76.8 56.6
Kenwood 7 97.5   100.0   100.0 98.6 99.2 98.6
Kenwood 8 100.0 97.8 100.0 97.8     100.0 97.8
Kenwood high not yet avail- was c. 56              
Kozm 3 40.8 51.0 53.1 37.9     46.9 58.8
Kozm 5 49.0 29.8 58.8 37.9     53.9 33.9
Kozm 7 63.8   63.8   57.4 61.2 61.7 80.9
Murray 3 69.8 80.0 88.9 81.8     70.4 80.9
Murray 5 87.5 90.2 93.8 90.2     90.6 90.2
Ray 3 74.4 72.9 89.5 80.0     82.0 87.5
Ray 5 67.1 72.1 78.0 83.6     72.6 77.8
Reavis 3 51.3 28.2 59.0 28.6     55.1 28.4
Reavis 5 58.3 24.6 32.6 12.1     30.5 18.3
Reavis 7 60.7   46.4   58.9 31.3 55.4 31.3
Shoesmith 3 79.1 51.0 93.0 72.5     86.0 61.8
Shoesmith 5 52.2 39.4 67.4 40.3     59.8 39.8


Virginia Vaske's take

In her letter to the Herald August 16, she called 2006 a breakthrough year, including for the Balanced Literacy approach stressed in Area 15. This "overnight success" was 5 years in the making. Every school in the area had a positive gain, many out pacing citywide gains. To be credited in part is partnership with the U of C Center for Urban School Improvement (Dr. Cindy Brunswick and colleagues) and use of principals as instructional leaders- and mentors to each other- and the general stress on professional development.

Ray and Murray remain strong with deep academic programs even if score improvements have slowed.They are dedicated to helping every student succeed. Neither school is selective and cannot test for admission although being so called magnet schools; both have many special needs students

Canter has arrived among the high performing local and middle schools--third highest in the area and 15% above district average.

Shoesmith had the biggest gains.

Kozminski and Reavis posted double digit gains - 15 and 18%. Again, Balanced Literacy and new math approaches are common to the success.


Tribune's Take, March 6, 2007/ They start with a multiple choice on Why test scores went up:
A. Pupils were given more time. B. Only one essay was factored into the grade. C. The passing bar was lowered on 8th-grade math test. D. Pupils Smarter, teacher more focused. The answers: State officials say E; critics say the others and test is easier.
The improvement if such it was, was 8 points in a year, from 69 to 77 percent in Illinois at grade level and 48 to 62 in Chicago), more than the previous seven years combined. But the change was not across the board, with minority and low income children posting the biggest gains. But it turns out to be easier to improve scores from a low base than a higher one. Tribune analysis said the pupils in general tested well on basics but struggled applying the concepts to higher level learning. And (March 12) that high school scores have stagnated.

Kozminski Academy, 936 E. 54th, was honored in 2007 by Mayor Daley for a five year stretch (actually it is six) in which scores rose every year. In fact, the number of students who met or exceed standard on composite scores rose by almost 50 percent. Principal Lionel Bordelon credits, among other things, the Reader response writing program--it stresses reading and writing in every subject, for comprehension. No other school in Hyde Park had a six year stretch of increases. Top


Chicago students are said by the Tribune to trail on reading and math among big cities. John Easton, a member of the National Assessment board and director of the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research said, "The good news is there is progress, but it's sobering how low some of these scores are." In results released Dec. 1, 2005 the most disappointing results are reported to be among African-American students, versus in other urban districts led by New York and contrary to what some interpretations of other tests have said. Some other cities have their own jaw-droppers, such as Atlanta's gap for low-income students generally and Washington DC's for all minority student groups. This test is the National Report Card, a sample of 680,00 pupils nationwide, 8,000 in Chicago. It tests in key subjects, and is highly regarded. Note that the measures below are of a high bar- whether the student is "proficient." What state tests measure is the percentage at or above "basic" or standard.

  • 11% of 8th graders are proficient in math (29 nationally, 20 other big cities)
  • 12% of 4th graders are proficient in reading (30 nationally, 19 other big cities)

Chicago students did show slight progress from the last national comparison in 2003 and Latino reading is up sharply--in fact, Latino 8th graders exceeded both national and other big city performance. Top

The Iowa test has been dropped. A new ISAT preparer company is in place. It has provided extensive study materials. ISAT is the nationally-mandated standard for Illin0is and is more a "comprehension/state of achievement" test than was Iowa.

A 1-page report card of each pupil's high school is being sent at least annually to parents, is on CPS website and available in the school. The card measures student outcomes, academic progress, participation in school activities and more. These include 5-year graduation rates, graduates who advance to college or employment, students in advanced placement classes, absenteeism, teacher qualifications, and school cleanliness--17 categories in all, selected by focus groups. Excluded is police enforcement activity, instead having a student survey on how safe the school is. This is part of the high school revitalization initiative. The state's report card is different, stressing academic progress, demographics, teacher characteristics.

Chicago ranked 10th of 11 big cities in 4th grade math, 7th in 8th grade math, 8th in 4th grade reading and 6th (the middle) in 8th grade math.

Supt. Duncan said he is very concerned about the lag of African-American students and the flat scores of 4th graders across the board. "It dramatically demonstrates the need for more preschool and full-day kindergarten. Teachers' Union president Marilyn Stewart pointed to instability in the African-Americans' schools and homes. According to the Tribune, she especially cites African American schools having been hit hard by recent school closings, with pupils being shuffled from building to building, and so many of the homes are single-parent. Others also point to budget skimping and cutbacks, either forcing schools/lscs to find there own way to keep positions or forbidding them to do so.



The long drought in high school reading score improvement appears to have been somewhat broken in 2005. Not so for math. But overall, nationally, the Sun-Times of Nov. 9 says scores have stagnated, hit a brick wall. This was reiterated in the March 12 2007 Tribune which says high school scores have stagnated.

Kenwood has made progress considerably faster than the state average, but not enough to get off the watch list. Staff knows it needs to concentrate on math and science. Caution- although the NCLB low performing students the school now has to take made major progress at Kenwood, when their scores are added in the school looks like it is stagnant or backsliding. This should abate.

Early ISAT reports are good in reading and composite city wide, and for the neighborhood Area 15 schools. ISAT scores determine "Adequate Yearly Progress." The local exceptions are Reavis and Shoesmith. The former went down to a composite of 27 on a sharp drop in math scores (3rd gr. from 38 to 28.5, 5th from 22.4 to 12.1.). Shoesmith composite dropped 5 percent to 47.7, just above the 47.5 percent marker for probation. Canter shot up over 10 to a composite of 76.6, Ray went up slightly to 73.3, Bret Harte also shot up 10 points to 72.3 pushed by reading improvements of 20 percent to 72.0. Kozminski improved by 6.6 points from 38 to 45, closing in on getting off probation (it has a new approach to reading and for math.)

First results from the 2005 Iowa tests of elementary students appear to show strong gains for kids and schools at the bottom of performance--in fact, steady decline in number or percentage of students in the lowest quartile of meeting national performance standards. Math, however, continues to slip slightly. The problem is that CPS is not, says it lacks the resources to, apply the best of what has proven out to all schools--in fact, some schools are going back to larger class size due to staff and other budget cuts. CF 2004: The gains for poorest performing did not seem to have come to schools in HPK deemed not bad enough for probation. Other scores see-sawed.


In 2005, the ranking was: Murray slipped some to the 90% at national standard level, next were Ray and Bret Harte- Ray stable in the mid-high 70s, Harte soaring into the low 70s, Canter moving through the 60s- by some measures at 76%- and poised to make major gains, Shoesmith sinking into the high 40s, Kozminski rising into the mid 40s, and Reavis slipping from an already lesser standing.

Harte, which has come up 20 points in a few years and is the biggest gainer, 2005 scores:
Grade 3 reading 70.4 , Grade 3 math 72.2, Grade 4 science 69.2, Grade 5 reading 72.9, Grade 5 math 76.3.


In 2004, lowest-performing Kozminski and Reavis stayed quite stable at a low level- 21% to 36% meeting standards. There was a 5 point drop in math at Kozminski. Low-mid-range Shoesmith dropped a bit. Murray dropped seriously (its expanded student body is economically more diverse). Canter dropped consistently with 7th graders citywide under test and other changes. Kenwood's 7th and 8 th magnet program slipped by stayed in the mid 90% meeting standards. Ray stayed as last year in the mid 70s. Bret Harte was the star with a 9% gain in reading scores.

School Reading 2004 Reading 2004 Math 2004 Math 2005
Canter Middle 61.4 49.0 53.3 49.8
Bret Harte 57.5 65.0 57.8 60.0
Kenwood A 7-8 99.2 95.7 98.3 97.4
Kozminski 34.2 36.5 29.4 24.2
Murray Lang. 90.3 82.1 93.1 86.4
Ray 72.9 72.2 72.2 74.7
Reavis 26.8 26.3 22.1 21.6
Shoesmith 45.1 43.8 52.7 44.8
CITY 43 43.7 47.5 46.6


Considerations and background

Some background on test score mandates, adequate yearly progress and who's making it is contained in the selection on Kenwood Academy's 2004 scores triumph, in News of Schools page.

In the light of what follows, it is disturbing that the State Board of Education voted to cut the writing exam from ISAT and Prairie State (to save a mere $6.4 million) when other states are recognizing how critical writing skills are and the CAT and ACT pre-college exams are putting new emphasis on writing ability. So says Marvin Hoffman, former director of the U of Cs North Kenwood Oakland Charter School in a Tribune Letter August 13, 2004. Tests themselves remain a bone of contention (including with a history of cultural and racial distortion), with some saying they are becoming too difficult, others that they are being dumbed down, and still others that they do not paint a true portrait of the student or class and are becoming the "be-all," introducing distortions.

The latest national results show 70 percent of students are not proficient in math or reading in light of current National Assessment standards, despite improvements. Black and Hispanic students continue to lag. In Illinois, things are somewhat better, with 29-35 percent of 4th and 8th graders scoring above proficiency and the rest scoring at the basic level or below (up from 17% to 31% for 4th graders) and making dramatic improvement, especially in math, in 2004. Progress in Illinois is seen as steady and significant over the past two years; and such scores are far below what ISAT shows- 53.1% above proficient in math. Do scores merely reflect what test is being used--or "taught to"/considered important by students, since real "learning time" and what can be given attention to during that time, are necessarily limited? The state chief of education says results are not good enough regardless--students are not being readied for college or the workplace and Illinois is failing to prepare for economic competition.

The Feds look on the bright side and say the "fully funded" No Child Left Behind Act has led to "significant gains" especially in math and focused attention on need to improve education for every student of every category and background. Yet reading scores have not gone up. Disturbing are failure overall for some states and regions to advance and little to no improvement nationwide for African American and Hispanic students except a slight uptick since 2000 (most improvement among black 4th graders in math. Average gap cf. White and Asian students in 2003 was 24-36 percentage points.) The "proficient or above" gap is even greater- for 4th grade: white 42%, black 10%, Hispanic 15%. In Illinois the proficient or above percentages in 2003 were Asian 48, white 44, Hispanic 13, and black 7.

Do scores here show that schools are slipping, failing to improve at the rate of other parts of the state, or succeeding where kids from advantaged homes and where the resources are, or that the tests are being ratcheted up? See below, some of this may sort out as the years pass and scores continue, one hopes to rise. Increasingly, staff is lockstepped: pressured from CPS for all teachers in every department to teach the same lessons at the same time the same way and to teach to the "goal" not the student. Everything is "assessment" and "procedures" driven ("right"-steps-and-mucho paperwork). And the federal standard for "making adequate yearly progress" (non-fail) is to have at least 40% of certain grades in the school passing state reading and math tests--and that percentage goes up as the decade progresses. (And CPS has now raised its own standard for staying off probation to 40%.) Other NCLB hoops include requirements for progress by every demographic subgroup re the 40% bar--although a case can be made that this has at least forced schools to pay attention to all. Resources remain low, many say abetted by an out of balance state education tax system.

And what's the result? A Tribune article December 19, 2003 alleges that "errors fill testing data, putting conclusions in doubt." One conclusion reported for the 2003 testing season is that Illinois elementary schools show improving test scores- 60% that year, the most in the five years of the ISAT. But nearly 60% high schools slipped on a separate test for 11th graders. For the latter, experts cite educator resistance and student apathy at "yet another test," one not tied to getting into college or to grades and passing to the next grade/graduating. Some schools were reported in the article to be resorting to "desperate measures" while Illinois Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller calls for drastic reform, including toughening Illinois graduation requirements, "among the weakest in the nation," including having an exit exam and geometry and biology required to graduate. December 13 the State Board of Education proposed that starting in 2008-9 students must pass algebra I and biology or chemistry to graduate. The next year, students would have to take three instead of two years of math- to include geometry, and two of science- to include biology and chemistry or physics. For 2011 the rule would include passing the Prairie State Achievement Examination. (One asks, if this test is measuring/failing schools, why wait until 2011 to use it measure students?) (State standards have to be approved by the legislature.)

The state announced 44% of schools in 2003 failed to meet at least one standard, but many schools appealed and the final tally was not in as of mid-2004. A Tribune analysis of a sample of undisputed results showed that globally 86.5 and 87.8 percent of elementary schools passed the reading and math, with 83.4 and 76.5 in high schools, but in Chicago only 46-48 of elementary schools and merely 17.8 in reading and 23.3 in math in Chicago high schools passed. Statewide, in high schools the number of schools posting declines on the Prairie State test rose from 50.5 to 57.7. A similar measure for elementary schools shows a major improvement over 2002. Still, Chicago Schools chief Arne Duncan pointed out that 2003 results were the biggest ISAT jump ever and the improvement is larger than the rest of the state. Note: In 2003 no mid-South area schools had "best scores" in terms of percentage tested that exceeded standards.

Is the problem in high schools results student apathy, non-relationship of the tests to graduation and college admission, demographics, or is it the size, makeup and other effects of high schools themselves? Or a combination or something else? What good is improvement in the 3rd-5th grades if it falls apart in the 8th-11th regardless of the best predictor of school success being proficiency in the first three elementary grades?


Check your school's scores- chicagotribune.com/schools.

How good was the 2004 test news, and does Illinois skew the results to non-count poorest performers. And is much gain accounted for by more relaxation of rules and school 'navigation' of rules. The good news locally is that a larger percentage of Chicago schools made gains- see article below. And more such accommodations are being considered for 2006

That's what the Chicago Tribune charged in a pair of articles December 15 and 16 2005. The number of schools in Illinois meeting the standards rose modestly in math ant reading, the Tribune says, but federal rules were relaxed for many schools, allowing them to escape a failing grade. And a full 1,087 public schools- 29 percent! failed to meet the goals, modestly better than 2003's 1,237--and this year 400+ escaped because they revised their demographic information, as late as the week of this report. Of these, 140 escaped because they didn't have to count late in-transfers or tests on which students didn't answer enough questions..... 16 just because the state changed how it determines test-participation rates, and others because of looser requirements for students with limited English skills. All this applies across the country. In Illinois, 399 whole districts failed vs 454 last year. On the other hand, 541 schools are on the watch list vs. a lesser 360 last year.

72,000 reading and math tests were tossed out because the students enrolled too late (after Sept 30) (56,000) or the students skipped major parts of the exam. (How long has this been going on...!). The former disproportionately effects minority and low-income students--whose families move a lot; the latter also applies most often to disabled students. 56,000 minority students (1 in 5) weren't counted when schools were judged by subgroup performance as required by NCLB. Why? because schools with less than 40 in a category don't have to tabulate for it! 1,800 Illinois schools known to have diversity returned tabulations for no or only white subgroups. Tests disqualified for late enrollment, incompleteness, etc. eliminated 10.7% of black students' tests and 9.3% o special education (at some schools 90% of the special ed kids) vs. 3.7 percent of white students' tests. U.S. Secretary of Education Ray Simon says this is gaming the rules--you can't focus on student subgroups you don't recognize.

But Illinois Superintendent of Education Randy Dunn said all aspects of how the law is carried out will be investigated. He says the law scapegoats special education and limited English students so that he feels a "moral imperative to address it, according to the Sun-Times. He cites 235 school districts that failed to meet standards just because of scores from these two categories. "I keep coming back to the moral injustice of this, especially when these children are making progress." He wants both test accommodations and tracking of progress instead of just looking at tests and says expectation special students will meet the same standards as others is unfair.

There is also a counter re: the late entrants--is it fair to hold transient student's against a school's score--especially when it's sometimes over 30 percent of enrollment? And principals say they track every student--every student matters.

Yet the Tribune asks why the children most intended to be helped by No Child Left Behind--the disadvantaged and disabled- slip through with loopholes and exemptions, saying it's hard enough under the best counting to design a "system that accounts for the variety of lives and communities across an entire state."

In 2004 40 percent of students had to pass, 37 percent in each subgroup. Next year these numbers move to 47.5 and 44.5--and reaches 100% in 2014, at which time one guesses every school will be in probation or default. If the 2005 standards were in place in 2004, an additional 390 schools would fail. The tests being gauged are ISAT (Illinois Standards Achievement), Prairie State, IMAGE (limited English skills), and IAAE (for special education).

All groups do show an upswing despite rising standards: 40% of African-Americans-up from 38% this year for example, and low-income up 2.5 points and special ed. 2 points, with slim gains for Asian and white. CPS says the gains happened through effort in the classroom, not mandates. But Hispanic/first-language-not-English gains, the Tribune says, may owe much to "savvy management by adults," in order for these to go from 11% to 40 in English and from 26% to 56 in math. And the feds now let those transferring out of bilingual can be counted with "limited English" for two years.

Change in passing rates on ISAT (grades 3,4, 5, 7, 8)
Illinois 61.4 % improved, 38% eroded. Chicago 72.5% improved, 27.3% eroded.

Change in passing rates on ISAT (grade 11)
Illinois 58% improved, 41.2% eroded. Chicago 77.1% improved, 22.9% eroded.



Hyde Park Elementary Schools' ISAT Results 2003 (percentages of students at or above state standards. AYP= adequate yearly progress- 40% or higher in all subjects)

Canter 8th graders graduated summer, 2003 and preceded the change to the new middle school. Kenwood 8th (pre-entry gifted) status is under review.

School 3rd read % ch 5th read % ch 8th read % ch 3rd math % ch 5th math % ch 8th math % ch AYP
Canter 8th         50 -21         13 -31 NO
Br Harte 58 8 66 18 77 -5 70 8 49 9 68 -1 YES
Kenwood 8th         99 -2         92 -2 NO
Kozminski 26 2 31 4 61 2 36 3 24 14 16 5 NO
Murray 87 6 94 3 94 3 92 5 97 11 81 3 YES
Ray 70 0 72 -4 77 -3 80 -5 77 13 57 -6 YES
Reavis 35 6 27 -6 46 -7 51 -1 22 4 20 1 NO
Shoesmith 44 14 47 -14     67 21 63 24     YES
CHI AVER 36 1 39 2 51 -5 49 3 44 8 31 0  
STA AVER 62 0 60 1 64 -4 76 2 68 6 53 1  

Kenwood Academy compared on the Prairie State exam--but compare to table that follows and assessment.

School Read % ch Math % ch Writing % ch Science % ch Soc Stud % ch AYP
Kenwood 52.4 2.8 35.0 -1.7 52.5 2.8 23.9 -4.3 40.3 4 NO*
CHI AVER 36.2 -.4 27.4 -9 33.8 4.8 23.5 1 29.4 -10.9  
STA AVER 56.4 -1.8 53.8 -.3 58.9 -.5 51.3 -1.4 56.2 -.6  

Kenwood is "under evaluation". Source for the statistics: Chicago Sun-Times.
For evaluation visit School News page.
The March 3 Herald gives different Prairie State results for Kenwood: 40.8 overall.

Dyett: Prairie State Math 3.9%, Reading 8.7%


Kenwood keeps climbing: State exam scores show Kenwood HS ahead of area pack in 2004

Hyde Park Herald, October 20, 2004. by Kiratiana E. Freelon

Kenwood 2004 PSAE Scores by subject (compare to final tabulations below)


Ken 33.2
city 27.4
Illinois 52.9

Ken 04 33.2 Ken 03 23.9 Ken 02 28
Writing Ken 55.5
city 37
Illin 59.6
Ken o4 55.5 Ken o3 55.2 Ken 02 50
Reading Ken 55
city 36.9
Illin 56.8
Ken 04 55 Ken 03 52.4 Ken 02 50

Ken 34.5
city 35

Illin 37

Ken 04 34.5 Ken 03 35 Ken 02 37
Soc Studies Ken 41.3
city 32.7
Illin 59.4
Ken 04 51.3 Ken 03 40.3 Ken 02 40


Preliminary scores of the Prairie State Achievement Exam, announced last week, show Kenwood High School [Academy], 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., scoring higher than 19 other public high schools in a zone bordered by 22nd street to the north, 55th Street to the south, and from the lake to the western boundary of the city. "Kenwood is number one every subject," said Principal Arthur Slater.

Although the scores are still unofficial, Jeanie Chung, a spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools, said she does not expect Kenwood's status to change when official scores are released later this year.

Falling behind Kenwood are public schools in neighborhoods such as Bridgeport, Fuller Park, Grand Boulevard, Douglas, McKinley Park, Brighton Park, Archer Heights, and Back of the Yards. Also trailing are King College Prep, 4445 S. Drexel Ave., and Bronzeville Military Academy , 3519 S. Giles Ave. [, s]elective high schools that accept students citywide based on their test scores. Slater emphasized how unusual it is for a high school that mainly accepts neighborhood students to score so high. "There are few schools that are not selective that are making adequate yearly progress," Slater said.

Every spring, juniors must take the Prairie State achievement Exam (PSAE). For two days, students test in math, reading, writing, social studies and science, as well as take a full ACT college entrance examination. The state uses the scores from the PSAE to determine if a school is meeting the adequate yearly progress (AYP), a state-mandated level of progress that a high school's junior students must achieve in order to avoid being listed on the state improvement list. after five years on the list, schools face restructuring by eliminating administration or switching to a charter-school format. This year, the state mandates that 40 percent of juniors score at or above the grade level. Last year, Bronzeville Military Academy nd Kenwood made AYP.

This year, Kenwood students saw the highest score and biggest increases in their reading and writing scores. fifty-five percent of Kenwood students meet or exceed grade level standards in reading and writing. Over the past two years scores in those areas have increased by five percent.

"We formed grade-level teams in the English department," said Jon Nemeth, chair of the English department. "The entire English department met once a week to communicate what people were doing in each of the grade levels."

Renna Alisandratos, chair of the social studies department, attributes the reading and writing scores to an increased focus on those subjects. "Every department concentrated on reading and writing," she said. Student's science scores jumped 10 percent from last year's 23 percent. And about 40 percent of the students met or exceed grade level in social studies.

The only subject that Kenwood dropped in was math which reflects a statewide trend, said Michael Broz, a school administrator. The number of students testing at grade level in math decreased from 37 percent in 2002 to 34.5 percent in 2004. David Narm, chair of the math department, said that teachers in his department will communicate across grade levels in an effort to build up to next year's PSAE.

Despite the improved scores, Kenwood has yet to catch up to statewide performance levels. Statewide, 59 percent of all juniors scored at grade level or above in reading, compared to Kenwood's 55 percent. Administrators say that if Kenwood continues to increase reading and writing scores by five percent over the next two years, the school will soon overtake state averages. The same bodes for science, they say.

Kenwood's African-American students outscored students of the same race statewide on every subject category. Fifty-five percent of African-American students tested at grade level or above in writing versus 33.4 percent across the state. Nearly 55 percent of African-American students tested at grade level in reading, significantly more than the state's 31.8 percent. Kenwood posted similar scores with its low-income students, administrators said.

"Black and low-income students excel and far exceed what the state is doing," Broz said.

Finally, Kenwood juniors improved in every subject (science, reading and English) except math on the ACT, with the biggest gains n English and reading. The ACT composite score improved from 18.2 to 18.8 since past year. This composite is still below the state average of 20.3 and teachers and officials hope to close this gap.

One parent was excited to hear the news. " I just wanted to say thank you," said Tina Parker, a parent of a junior at Kenwood."This is the kind of stuff people need to know about Kenwood."

Slater also saw room for improvement in the school. "I feel great but I'm never satisfied because we can always do better," he said. "As long as we still have students in the [lowest 25 percent] I will not be satisfied. "

According to the Kenwood annual report, plans for improving score are already in place. Teachers will continue to align the curriculum to meet state standards. Additionally, departments meet to develop assessments to identify students' strengths and weaknesses with regard to the PSAE and ACT.

Kenwood will also continue its Jump Start and Recovery programs to increase freshman retention and graduation. These programs help students adjust to high school and make up failed classes, respectfully. A recently initiated program, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), will target 100 middle-performing first-years to prepare them for Advanced Placement classes.


Report card results not in Reavis' favor, Other Hyde Park schools show improvements on state exams

Hyde Park Herald, December 22, 2004. By Kiratiana E. Freelon

Reavis Elementary's standardized test scores dropped significantly according to 2004 Illinois State Board of Education report cards released Dec. 14, while every other Hyde Park school showed a range of improvements. Reavis, 834 E. 50th St., scored lower than last year on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in third and eighth grande reading and math and well below the city and state averages. Only 17 percent of third-graders scored at or above their grade level in reading and 40 percent in path. Eighth graders lost even and five points in reading and math, respectively. The school's composite ISAT score dropped from 34 to 28, well below the state's mandated 40 percent at or above grade level.

Principal Michael Johnson had no explanation for the results. "It would be difficult for me to speak to [the test scores]," said Johnson. "Just as I've come on board; we're trying to change this." This summer the local school council replaced retired Principal Sherman Chambers with Johnson, former director of the North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School, 1119 E. 56th St.

Johnson said he hopes to improve scores by focusing on literacy and instruction. "[The scores] are not something that I'm very happy about," Johnson said. " We want the [children] to get the best instruction not just for taking a test but so they can compete."

Virginia Vaske, area instructional officer for Reavis, said she hoped the school will an upward trend in test scores next year, perhaps improving by five points.

Murray Language Academy, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave., and Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., maintained their high scores from previous years. Ray's composite ISAT scores rose four points. CPS named it a "School of Excellence, " a title given to schools that score above 70 percent on the ISAT.

More than 90 percent of Murray students score at or above grade level in math and reading, enough to capture the only title of "school of distinction" in Hyde Park. CPS gave this title to only 29 elementary schools throughout the city. I'm proud of the [scores]," said Katherine Konopasek, principal of Murray. "We went through such a big transition last year. We had a new building, new teacher and 90 more students. I credit our learning community for coming together."

Kozminski Community Academy, 936 E. 54th St. scored large gains in math and reading on the ISAT. The school's fifth-graders increased their scores by 10 points and math scores by 8 points. Eighth graders beat the city's reading average by five points. These improvements, however, failed to help the school attain the 40 percent at or above grade level in math and reading that is needed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) under the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act. Kozminski must score larger gains next year to reach AYP. The state will increase AYP requirements from 40 percent to 47.5 percent meeting state standards in reading and math.

Canter's eighth-graders rebounded from last year's losses in reading and math which helped the school to score the greatest gains in Hyde Park. Eighth graders gained 16 points in reading and 24 points in math. However, the school has yet to attain AYP since its inception three years ago.

With a drop only in fifth-grade reading, Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., edged closer to academic powerhouses like Murray and Ray. Harte's scores trumped the city averages and earned it the title as a CPS "school of merit," an honor given to schools that score between 50 percent and 69 percent on the ISAT. Harte typically posted scores between 30 and 40 percent just five years ago.

Shoesmith 's ISAT test scores remained stable. Fifth-graders increased seven points and six points in reading and math, respectively. Six percent fewer students scored at or above grade level in third-grade math. The school's scores also remained well above the city's average.

Kenwood's Principal Arthur Slater reported his school's increasing PSAE scores at a local school council meeting in October. He announced at the meeting that Kenwood is ranked first in every subject in its region, which comprises 22 public high schools. Kenwood, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., improved in every subject except math on the PSAE, scoring well above the city averages in every subject. Overall, 44 percent of Kenwood juniors met or exceeded state standards, a three percent improvement over last year. On the PSAE, SPS high schools rose 1.9 percent (30.1 to 32.o) to the state's 1.2 (55.2 to 56.4).


79 Chicago public schools cited as "rising stars"

79 schools posted major test score gains led by Woodlawn Community Academy (a charter) with double-digit gains. The school attributed this to its "scripted" program, Direct Instruction. This year the number of rising star elementary schools rose from 48 to 71. 8 high schools were so recognized in 2003 and in 2004.


National and Illinois NAEP results compared. Source: Chicago Tribune, November 14, 2003

W White, B Black, H Hispanic, A Asian. Illinois did not test 8th graders with NAEP in 2002?

4th grade math    
National Overall average 31%  
W 42% +12
B 10 +06
H 15 +08
A 48 +08
Illinois Overall 32%  
W 44 +14
B 07 +03
H 13 +07
A 58 NA
8th grade math    
National Overall 27%    
W 36 +03
B 07 +02
H 11 +03
A 42 +02
Illinois Overall 29  
W 40 +05
B 06 -02
H 09 -02
A 58 N/A
4th grade reading    
National Overall 30  
W 39 None
B 12 None
H 14 None
A 37 +01
Illinois Overall 31  
W 41 N/A
B 10 N/A
H 15 N/A
A 46 N/A
8th grade reading    
National Overall 30  
W 39 None
B 12 -01
H 14 None
A 38 -04
Illinois Overall 35  
W 45 N/A
B 14 N/A
H 16 N/A
A 53 N/A



Analysis and Herald interpretation below

The Iowa test increases in difficulty incrementally each year.

Our schools fall into three categories- those substantially at national standard (Kenwood 7th-8th Gifted, Murray, and- somewhat behind- Ray), those a little above the citywide 44% (Canter, Harte, Shoesmith), and those way behind and seeming to be in increasing difficulty and face or are in probation (Kozminski, Reavis).

Kenwood, Murray and Ray gained or slipped only a little. In the middle category Canter surged, Harte continued to steadily gain, and Shoesmith slipped a bit. Kozminski and Reavis slipped in reading and dove in math. Note that for Canter this is the first class since reconstitution as a cluster middle school.

Hyde Park Elementary Schools ISAT Results- percent of students at or above state standards

AYP= adequate yearly progress. Three schools id no make it--Canter because despite really big improvement 8th graders fell a tad short of 40% at or above, Kozminski because 3rd grade reading fell considerably short and 8th grade math was dismal, and Reavis because in its scores backsliding even the best just touched state standards. If progress continues, one expects Canter will make AYP in 2004, Kozminski would also except it is unlikely that 8th graders can close the gap. Reavis may be turned around but be too late to avoid reconstitution.

  3rd read %ch 5th read %ch 8th read %ch 3rd math %ch 5th math %ch 8th math %ch AYP?
Canter 8th         66 16         38 24 NO
B Harte 66 8 53 -13     76 6 67 18     YES
Kenwood 8th         100 2         95 3 YES
Kozminski 33 6 41 10 60 -2 60 -2 46 10 16 -1 NO
Murray 83 -4 94 0     97 5 94 -4     YES
Ray 68 -2 64 -8     81 1 76 -1     YES
Reavis 17 -18 34 7 39 -7 40 -12 22 0 15 -5 NO
Shoesmith 48 4 54 7     61 -6 69 6     YES
CITY 41 5 43 4 55 5 56 7 51 7 33 2  
STATE 65 3 61 1 67 3 79 3 72 4 54 1  

Kenwood Academy High School's Prairie State Results by subject- Percent of students at or above state standard

  Read %ch Math %ch Writing %ch Science %ch Social Studies   AYP?
Kenwood 55 2.6 34.5 -0.5 55.7 3.2 33.3 9.6 41.3 1 YES
 CITY 36.6 0.1 27.8  0.4 36.6 2.8 27 3.5 32.5 3.1   
STATE 56.8 0.4 53.1 -0.2 59.6 .7 52.9 1.6 59.4 3.2  

Note that while there appears to be no pattern of relative success in math vs reading in elementary schools, in high schools reading appears stronger than math or science at Kenwood and in the city, but not statewide. Kenwood's scores are almost comparable to state scores in reading, writing but not math, science an social sciences. In every category Kenwood is modestly to strongly better than city average.




2004 preliminary ISAT/PSAE statewide and city results show elementary, espec. minority improvement but high school scores are stagnating. Article follows


Note: citywide general 2004 ISAT/PSAT final results were published August 4 but school by school final scores will not be released until late fall.
Illinois Standard Achievement Test (elementary) scores improved significantly, especially for minority students. State Superintendent Robert Schiller credits improvement in part to the No Child Left Behind Act, which forces schools to focus efforts and resources on vulnerable sets of students- black, Latino, special-ed, low-income, limited-English. Major Latino gains also resulted from both intensified after school and intervention practices and the ability of some limited-English students to switch to the IMAGE Test.

Latino 5th graders: passing percentage went from 41 to 67%, and the gap between white and Latino excellers shrank from 37% in 2001 to15% in 2004. In 4th-grade science, Latino excellers grew from 48% to 50 in one year with the gap narrowing rom 41% to 23% over five years. In all elementary categories, an increase in parental involvement was cited as well as more after school programs.

Not-so-good news. Social Studies scores are flat, and 8th-grade reading scores softened--some blame "tracking"--struggling middle school students placed in less demanding courses. The really discouraging news is in the high schools: 11th grade scores have stagnated in every subject since 2001 (statewide; a case can be made in the city for slow-steady progress-see following article) and Prairie State passing rates are 10 percent under elementary ISAT rates. Variously blamed are:

  • Dismal parental involvement.
  • What subjects students are allowed to elect in many schools--no algebra or geometry into the 11th grade when these skills are the foundation of the Prairie State math test.
  • Teachers who find they can't answer many of the questions-- to what extent is this related to real difficulty getting best teachers to teach in high schools, and why is that?
  • Competition from the college-entry-connected CAT. Prairie has no connection to grades or college entry
  • Elementary test success too easy> false sense of achievement and high too hard at moment kids get confused and discouraged? Results in dropping out?


In 2004, Kenwood 8th and Murray stayed near the 100% at standard level (with slight slippage), Ray stayed at c. 75, Canter surged 6 points breaking the 60 and 50% marks, Harte neared the 60 mark, Shoesmith slipped some but stayed near the 50% level, while Kozminski trailed city norms (40s) substantially and slipped badly in math.

In 2004, Harte, Murray, Shoesmith are among schools that have showed strong improvements on tests, the first two enough for placement on the Schools of Distinction list the previous year (the 2004 list wasn't out yet)--Harte's were in the same strong range in 2004 while Shoesmith had the biggest gains. Canter slipped, but this reflects the past, down side of the reorganization curve--read on!. Reavis and Kozminski did not show substantial improvement and are well below state and neighborhood average. Kenwood 8th graders are again at 99 percent on ISAT, but only 40% of 11th graders are at state standards, as last year, and in math and science the results slipped to 65% and 76% failing to meet state standards. Rising scores at the first three and Ray have garnered praise from CPS. Ray is on the "School of Excellence" list for the second year--"Excellence" is a step above "Distinction." And Canter is now a "Rising Star School" and will get an $8,000 award. (Note that only certain local schools have substantial local enrollment--to the extent that Hyde Park's economically and racially "integrated community" can be said to rely on private schooling for local resident and does not exist in at least half our schools, including the high school.

Michael Keno (Bret Harte Principal): "The instruction that we give is aligned with the standards. It's positive that we must be doing something right at the elementary level."

Murray Principal Katherine Konopasek, who thanked each teacher for the favorable results, said, "We look forward to getting the results out to the parents, [but] tests are not the end and the be all."


City's schools get gold star; 74% improve

Most 3rd and 5th grades now meet state's math standards

"When I see a big jump like this, I want to wait until next year to see, because these scores do move around quite a bit. But the improvement in math, that's real. It's indisputable," says John Easton, director of the U of C's Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2004. By Tracy Dell'Angela

State test scores rose in 74 percent of Chicago's public schools this year, a boost fueled by double-digit increases in the percentage of 3rd and 5th graders passing math and writing, Chicago officials proudly announced Wednesday.

For the first time in the six years the Illinois Standards Achievement test has been administered, most 3rd and 5th graders in Chicago met state standards in math. Reading scores in the elementary grades are lagging but still increased.

Chicago also bucked a statewide trend of stagnant high school scores by achieving modest increases in scores on the Prairie State Achievement Examination across every subject. At seven high schools, the passing rate rose by at least 10 percentage points.

"This is an example of the dedication we have to the improvement of our schools," Mayor Richard Daley said. "We all know there is far more to be done before our students outperform other students in the state. But we will not rest. The greatest gift I can give to any child is a good-quality education."

Of the 10 grade schools with the biggest improvements in scores, three were charter schools; among the five high schools with the biggest gains, one was a charter. Charters are poised to become a centerpiece of Daley's ambitious Renaissance 2010 school reform program.*

Chicago School Scores by percent meeting or exceeding standards:

ISAT grades 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 all subjects:

2002 37%, 2003 21%, 2004 45.5%

PSAE grade 11

2002 29%, 2003 30%, 2004 32.1%

One school, South Loop Elementary, saw an extraordinary gain in 3rd-grade scores--from 19 percent passing reading to 63 percent, and from 18 percent passing math to 77 percent. The changes were so dramatic that school officials suspected cheating, and the 3rd graders had to retake the tests. But the scores held, suggesting that a new principal and changing demographics in this rapidly gentrifying area are having a startling impact on the school's performance.

Latino students improve

Latino students saw big gains across all grades in Chicago, particularly their scores in 5th-grade math. Their improvement helped boost scores among minority students statewide. the city's African-American students also posted solid gains in the three core subjects, but their improvements were far more modest in 5th grade--with reading scores rising 1.3 percentage points, compared with 9.2 percentage points for Latino students.

Despite the better test results, Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan said he expects little change in the number of Chicago schools that must offer students extra help or the chance to transfer because their scores do not meet standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Schools must see improvements over two years to get off the lists.

Last school year, 365 of the city's 600 schools had to offer students the option to transfer to a better-performing school because they had not met federal academic goals for two years in a row. After landing on the failing list for three straight years, 219 schools had to offer tutoring.

Duncan said students at struggling schools will receive extra help regardless of whether the schools are required to offer it under the law. "The lists are irrelevant," he said. "Whether you go up or down, we know we are doing the right thing."

Most encouraging to education leaders was evidence that the district's overall scores are improving, most markedly in the two years since Duncan's management team has taken over the school system. "The fact that Chicago's gains are outpacing the state's gains is very impressive," said John Easton, executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, a University of Chicago organization that has been studying the issues facing city schools since 1990. "When I see a big jump like this, I want to wait until next year to see, because these scores do move around quite a bit," Easton. "But the improvement in math, that's real. It's indisputable."

Driving those math gains were schools such as Little Village Elementary on the Southwest Side. Overall, the school's composite ISAT score jumped from 37 percent passing to 54 percent. Math scores increased twofold or more in 3rd and 5th grades--from 43 percent passing to 92 percent in 34d grade, and from 34 percent to 63 percent in 5th. The reading score also doubled in 5th grade.

Last year the school adopted a new math curriculum that emphasizes higher-order thinking and hands-on training for teachers. Teachers spend two hours every day working on reading and writing, and they incorporate these literacy skills in their science and social studies lessons. "We've had a strong foundation, and we've been building brick by brick," said Assistant Principal Elizabeth Najera. Even the after-school sports program--which covers everything from soccer to folkloric dance lessons--has had a positive effect on the academic progress of the students involved in the activities, Najera said.

A changing neighborhood

At South Loop Elementary, Principal Pat Baccellieri devoted himself in the last two years to building a top-notch teaching staff and selling his school to an increasing number of middle-class families moving to the once-blighted area. "South Loop until recently was a school of last resort, and [Baccellieri] dramatically changed that culture," Duncan said. "He's really built a culture that focuses on quality instruction..and a team of teachers truly committed to teaching something special."

Baccellieri said the influx of new families has helped bring a new energy, especially in the preschool program and primary grades. But it was the low-income kids who have been at the school for years who achieved the most impressive gains, he said. While reading scores dipped in 5th grade from 30 percent passing to a disappointing 17 percent, some 63 percent of 8th graders passed reading, and 5th grade math scores increased from 13 percent passing to 33 percent.

Though Daley and Duncan said they still weren't satisfied with the overall performance of high schools, they were encouraged to see that three-fourths of high schools improved their scores slightly in most subjects. The passing rate at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, reported at 60 percent last year, rose to 73 percent. That score brings the school more in line with the city's other selective-enrollment high schools, which admit only the system's brightest students.

Instilling motivation

Principal Pamela Dyson said that this year, for the first time, Brooks really tried to sell the importance of the Prairie State test, which is taken by juniors. School officials invited parents to a meeting, hung posters in the halls and even staged a pep rally in anticipation of the April exam. "If we can cheer our basketball and football teams on to victory, we certainly can cheer our students on to victory on the test," Dyson said.

Hope College Preparatory High School in Englewood was the only neighborhood school to see a double-digit jump in its composite score--from 27 percent of students passing to 40 percent. Duncan credited Principal Mahalia Hines' efforts to make classroom instruction the consuming part of her day--raising expectations and pushing to align lessons with state standards. "Mahalia is an instructional leader," Duncan said. "This is unquestionably her top priority, and everyone knows it."

Most improved ISAT schools by percent meeting or exceeding and (percentage change)

Locke 60.2 (27,8)
Carver 62.7 (23.1)
Haugan 60.8 (21.1)
Nixon 51.2 (19.5)
Passages 62.5 (19.1)
Hammond 51.7 (19.1)
Hanson Park 62.6 (18.9)
Whittier 51.2 (17.9)
Little Village 54.7 (17.2)
Barry 64.1 (17.1)

Prairie State (first three are selective enrollment/magnet high schools)

Lindbloom 55.4 (14.7)
Chicago Agriculture 60.6 (13.7)
Brooks 73.0 (13.3)
Hope 39.7 (12.6
Noble Street Charter 50.7 (12.2)

*In this writer's estimate this is an insufficient number with too little information to draw any conclusion at this point concerning whether charters do better. In 2005, North-Kenwood Oakwood Charter made significant improvement and indeed pulled to the top in our our area.


Panelists finger race in CPS tests and tracking and among teachers- say we are regressing to old patterns as CPS fails to give students support.

Based on a Herald article, July 9, 2008. By Daschell M. Phillips.

On June 20 the Racial Justice Task Foce of First Unitarian Church held a panel discussion forum on changing realities and impacts of racism on the said topics. Attorney Pricilla Dixon, math teacher Carol Caref, and KPCO's Jitu Brown, panelists, said the racism is endemic in the classroom and involves virtual attack on and inculcation of expectation of 2nd class status for 7th and 8th graders who then turn off on learning. There is no training of teachers and subs in dealing with kids from other cultures. Caref gave a power point on conditions of deliberately unaddressed overcrowding of South Side schools in the 50s and 60s. A lot of programs were initiated in the 70s, but withered on the vine and were followed by "high stakes testing." So the achievement gap widened again. By start of the new century, the system was almost all minority, with Magnet Schools weighted to white students who could write their own tickets. Then the Mid South Plan component of Renaissance 2010, involving lots of school closings, was trotted out and shot down. Organizations seek to make sure CPS does not introduce changes without public input or weaken the LSCs. These include Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization and Parenting 4 Academic Success, which gives info and advice to parents on understanding and navigating the system and making best choices for their children. Top


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