Up, Up, Up!

Here's what I have so far on the ISAT scores -- sorry about the formatting flaws:


July 11, 2006

                Mayors Press Office



Double-Digit Increases
in Almost All Grades and Subjects

Calling it a historic day for the
teachers, parents, taxpayers and especially the elementary students
of Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced that the Chicago
Public Schools have reached all-time highs on the elementary-school
Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), with students in most cases
making double-digit gains in all grades over all subjects.

Our teachers share in the credit for
this progress because of all the hard work theyve done to teach and
prepare our children, Daley said. So do our parents and community,
business and school leaders who have worked together with us to improve
the education of our children.

The result show the districts system
wide composite for reading, math and science rose to a new high of 62.5
percent of all students meeting or exceeding state standards. That is
up 15.2 percentage points from the previous all-time high of 47.3 percent
of all students meeting or exceeding state standards reached in 2005,
and represents the largest one-year jump in test scores since Daley
took over in 1995.

Since 2000 alone, the first year ISATs
were given, CPS system wide composite score has grown 26.5 percentage
points, up from 36 percent of all students meeting or exceeding state

By putting the education of our children first, focusing on learning the basics in the classroom and staying the course year by year, were delivering on our commitment to give every child in every school the same opportunity for a good life, Daley said. Were taking the important and necessary steps to end poverty. Were giving businesses another good reason to locate and grow in Chicago to create new opportunity for our residents

The gains were reflected across the entire 600-plus school system, with 96% of schools improving in math, and 92% improving in reading and science.

The ISAT gains come after CPS put a high priority on reading, under the direction of Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins. Following the recommendation of Mayor Daley,
Eason-Watkins launched the districts Reading Initiative in 2001, when about 400 reading specialists were placed in poorly performing schools. This year, the system gained 12.1 percentage points overall in reading, from 47.7 percent of all students meeting or exceeding standards
to 59.8 percent meeting or exceeding standards.   Among those schools
with reading specialists, the gains were even higher, averaging a 12.5
point percentage-point gain.

In addition to placing reading specialists
in what were poorly performing schools, CPS has emphasized getting pre-schoolers
ready to learn and providing support to older students in after-school
settings. Currently, more than 30,000 children participate in pre-school,
and more than 100,000 students are enrolled in after-school programs. 
Chicagos community schools which have expanded after-school
programming also out-performed the city as a whole.

The effort to create new schools under
Renaissance 2010 is also succeeding with an average gain in composite
score of 27% of kids meeting standards in new schools created since

Clearly, these strategies are working,
said CPS Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan.  The focus on
reading and classroom learning, investing to build new schools, providing
after and summer school learning opportunities and creating new educational
options are all making a difference.

The final major strategy, improving the
quality of teachers and principals, is also contributing to the increase,
said Eason-Watkins, adding, All Chicago should acknowledge the critical
role that public school teachers play in the life and the health of
our city.  It is because of their hard work that we can stand here
today and celebrate the largest one-year jump in test scores that we
have ever seen and the all time high in test scores our children have

In math, 64.7 percent of all students
met or exceeded state standards, up 19.0 percentage points from the
45.7 percent mark last year. In science, students showed a 14.8-percentage
point gain, from 49.2 percent meeting or exceeding standards in 2005
to 64.0 percent this year.

Last years reading and science scores
represented previous all-time highs. The previous all-time high in math
was 46.8 percent in 2004.

Additionally, students in every grade
showed improvement in every subject:

  • Third-grade reading rose 9.1
      percentage points: from 42.4 percent of students meeting or exceeding
      standards in 2005 to 51.5 percent this year.
  • Third-grade math rose 12.1

      percentage points: from 55.7 percent to 67.8 percent.

  • Fifth-grade reading rose 10.2

      percentage points: from 40.5 to 50.7 percent meeting or exceeding.

  • Fifth-grade math rose 9.3

      percentage points: from 50.0 percent to 59.3 percent.

  • Eighth-grade reading rose

      13.4 percentage points: from 59.6 to 73 percent.

  • Eight-grade math, in part because of an adjustment of standards at the state level, rose 33.3 percentage points: from 32.5 percent meeting or exceeding in 2005 to

      65.8 percent this year.

  • Fourth-grade science rose 14.5 percentage points: from 43.5 percent last year to 58 percent this year.
  • Seventh-grade science rose 14.8 percentage points: from 54.6 percent last year to 69.4 percent this year.

This was the first year that all students in grades 3-8 took the ISAT reading and math tests in March. Officials said that this will be a baseline year in fourth, sixth, and seventh grades in those subjects. Previously, only students in third, fifth and eighth grade took the reading and math tests. Students in fourth and seventh grades also were tested in science, as they have been in the past.

I know some of you will be tempted to look at these increases as some kind of miracle or overnight success story, Duncan said. Theyre not. It started with Mayor Daley taking responsibility for our schools in 1995, and instituting higher standards and greater accountability. Then, its the result of the incredible vision and dedication of our chief education officer, Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins and other school leaders..

Along with being a component of CPS accountability system, the ISAT helps determine sanctions that schools must face under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The results are considered preliminary until the Illinois State Board of Education releases state report cards this fall.

The Chicago Public Schools is the nations third-largest school system. It includes more than 600 schools and serves about 425,900 students.




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