July 27, 2010

Mayor Daley, CPS Officials Announce Gains By 11th Graders On 2010 Prairie State Achievement Examination

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Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman in announcing gains for CPS high school students on the 2010 Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).

Preliminary data show that the composite score of CPS students meeting or exceeding state standards scores rose 1.5 percentage points, from 27.9 percent to 29.4 percent, compared to last year. The 1.5 percentage point gain amounts to a more than 5 percent increase in the meets/exceeds composite.
Since the PSAE was first given in 2001, this is the biggest gain CPS has had in the PSAE composite and the second biggest gain in the ACT composite, for year over year growth.
The preliminary figures include all students, including English Language Learners.
“There’s nothing more important than providing our children with a good education. More than ever, because the competition for new jobs and businesses is global in scope, businesses need to understand that Chicago's workforce is well trained and ready to work,” Daley said in a news conference held at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, 2100 E. 87th St.
“These numbers show progress. And for that, I want to thank our students, teachers, administrators and parents for their hard work and achievement,” he said.
The PSAE is administered annually to 11th grade students throughout Illinois. It is composed of two parts: the ACT (American College Test) and WorkKeys, the latter of which is designed to assess workplace readiness.
In the ACT, students are tested on the knowledge of English, reading, math and science. The WorkKeys tests measure students’ skills in reading and math.
The Mayor and Huberman said that in addition to the 1.5 percent point gain in the meets/exceeds composite CPS students showed the following in PSAE testing:
  • In science, a 2.9 percentage point gain.
  • In mathematics, a 2.5 percentage point gain.
  • In reading, a .9 percentage point decline.


The Mayor said the drop in the reading score concerns him greatly.
“I want our public schools leadership team to re-examine their efforts to improve these numbers.  Obviously, our high school students must be proficient in reading if they're to succeed in life,” he said.
The marginal drop in reading scores this year follows a relatively large increase of 3.9 percentage points last year.
“We will continue to provide schools and teachers with curricular supports and strategies designed to help all students find success in reading, interpreting, using and learning from all types of text in the various high school disciplines,” Huberman said.
In tandem with the PSAE gains, Daley and Huberman reported that CPS student scores on the ACT rose .3 points, to 17.3, compared to 2009 data. The 17.3 composite is the highest in a decade and continues a steady climb from the 16.1 CPS composite in 2001.
Also notable in this year’s preliminary results is that the percentage of 11th graders meeting ACT college readiness benchmarks increased in all subject areas compared with 2009.  Students meeting these benchmarks have a higher likelihood of success in credit-bearing college courses.
The District has set a composite benchmark of 20 on the ACT as a goal for all students, as ACT does not provide a composite benchmark.  The percentage of CPS students scoring 20 or higher on the ACT grew 2.6 percentage points, from 21.8 to 24.4, compared to a year ago. In 2001, only 17.1 percent of CPS students scored 20 or higher on the ACT. 
The increase was highest in English, where the District saw a 4.3 percentage point gain over 2009. In the other three subject areas, the District saw the percentage of students meeting college readiness standards increase .4 percentage points in reading, 3 percentage points in math and 1.6 percentage points in science.
“After years of steady improvement, we need to take our schools to the next level if we're to graduate students who are prepared to compete in the global economy and succeed in life,” Daley said.
Our schools aren't yet where they need to be but I'm convinced that if all of us put our children first, then Chicago's schools can become the best in America,” he said.
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