September 11, 2018

Annual CPS Academic Progress Report Shows Record-Breaking Student Achievements

Chicago Continues to Lead the Country in Urban Education
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Building on the district’s reputation as a national leader in urban education, Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools today released the 2018 Academic Progress Report, an annual comprehensive overview of students’ record-setting academic achievements. By every measure, Chicago’s students across demographic subgroups continue to display unprecedented growth and progress throughout the city. From improved graduation rates to record high elementary math and reading scores to today’s announcement of a record $1.33 billion in scholarships, Chicago students and educators have earned their national reputation – and this report card demonstrates how far they’ve come since 2011. 

“Chicago’s students are working hard, achieving record results and making our whole city proud,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The CPS Report Card shows how far Chicago’s students have come as our city continues to lead the country in academic gains.” 

“Chicago’s record-breaking gains shows that our students, educators, principals and parents have made huge strides and are working together to build on this momentous academic success for students across the city,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “As a district, we are committed to building upon this progress by continuing to invest in strong academic programs and increasing equity and access to ensure every student in every neighborhood has the high-quality education they deserve."

CPS 2018 Academic Report Card

Progress Report Highlights:

  • Record-High Graduation Rate: Students earning a diploma hit an all-time high of 78.2 percent this year – with the biggest improvements coming from African American and Hispanic males. The graduation rate has steadily risen over the past seven years, growing more than 37 percent since 2011, when just over half of CPS students earned a high school diploma.

  • Freshman OnTrack: In 2018, the percentage of freshmen considered on-track to graduate is the highest measure on record at 89.4 percent, a nearly 30 percent improvement since 2011. The Freshman OnTrack rate is a research-based measurement that is the single best indicator of whether or not a student will graduate, and it has risen for the seventh year in a row – signaling that more CPS students are likely to graduate than ever before. 

  • Record High Math Scores and Strong Reading Gains: More Chicago elementary students than ever before are meeting or exceeding national attainment standards for math, and reading scores have held steady at their previous record high. In 2018, a record 56.6 percent of students met or exceeded the national average in math scores, and 61.4 percent of students met or exceeded the average in reading scores on the 2017-18 NWEA MAP assessment.

  • Record High College and Career Credentials Earned: This year, more CPS graduates earned college and career credentials than ever before. Credential attainment jumped 3.2 percentage points this year, with 46.6 percent of 2018 graduates earning at least one early college and career credential, which helps make college more accessible and affordable for students and their families

  • Scholarship Dollars Earned: The class of 2018 earned more than $1.33 billion in scholarship offers – $90 million more than 2016 and five times more than 2012, when CPS students earned $266 million in scholarship dollars. This dramatic increase is consistent with the district’s strategic expansion of postsecondary initiatives and college-level programming such as IB, STEM, AP and dual credit and dual enrollment in schools across the city.

  • Keeping Students Safe: The district continues to expand its successful Safe Passage program, the city’s collaborative effort that has proven to reduce crime and keep students safe during their daily commutes to and from school. This fall, Safe Passage will serve 76,000 students at 160 schools throughout the city – nearly five times the number of schools served in 2012.

  • Meeting Students’ Social and Emotional Needs: CPS has made major investments in social and emotional learning programming, training and initiatives in recent years to better support the needs of our students. As part of these efforts, CPS created the supportive schools certification to recognize schools have prioritized supportive school environments. In 2018, 447 schools earned the supportive school certification – an increase of more than 112 schools.

CPS’ detailed plan to build upon this record-breaking progress can be found in the district’s vision statement at

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.