"Better Than Expected" CPS Schools

View Better Than Expected Schools in CPS in a larger map

Some extremely kind folks have shared with us this re-run of Chicago Magazine "best schools" story data that comes up with a crude but helpful list of schools that outperform their demographics when it comes to getting students to proficient or advanced.  The top ten are
Chopin, Poe, Courtenay, Williams Lyon, Healy, Leland, Sheridan, Locke.
Basically they took the top 250 schools and did a regression using percentage meets/exceeds vs. income.  Here's the spreadsheet.  Click the map to zoom in etc. Pretty interesting stuff, right? 


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  • Interesting approach to grading schools. It makes you realize that what parents are looking for in a "good" school is actually good students. That makes sense for a lot of reasons, but it is not the same thing as the school having good teachers.

  • what jumps out at me is that these are schools you don't really hear about -- they're not selective enrollment or fancy neighborhood elites, nor obviously problem schools, and they're spread all over the city not clustered north and east. though yes, jackson is in there. what jumps out at you about the list?

  • I love this! I would like to see Chicago Mag, Trib, SunTimes get a little more in-depth with their school analysis like this. Jeez, it took 2 parents an evening to run it through excel, but quickly highlights some schools where *something* seems to be working. If so, what... and how can CPS harness that in other schools?

  • The better than expected data may have some problems in terms of its method. But none the less I think it is some type of measure and I appreciate Alexander posting this data.

    If you look at the schools with positive numbers, those whose percentage of low income students using a linear model would predict lower numbers of students meeting or exceeding state standards and exceed expectations, we see some very interesting things.

    Of the 250 schools 115 had positive numbers indicating they were better than expected and 134 had negative numbers indicating they were worse than expected. One school was exactly at the point the model would predict so it was neither positive nor negative [Belding Elementary School]. Of the 115 schools with positive numbers only five were charter schools [Learn, Locke, Legacy, Namaste, Chicago Math and Science]. These five charters formed 4.35% of these better than expected schools.

    Now if we look at the 134 schools that performed worse than would be expected based on the percentage of low income students we see that there were 9 charter schools in that group, or 6.72%. Based on rhetoric of Renaissance 2010 one would expect that all of the charter schools would have had positive numbers, isn't that why CPS opened these schools to begin with? Of the 238 non charter schools that had either positive or negative better than expected numbers, 46.22% had positive numbers. Of the 14 charter schools 5 had positive numbers or 35.7%.

    I think it is impossible using just these numbers to argue that traditional non-charter elementary schools are doing a better job teaching low income students than are charters. But none the less these numbers are interesting.

    According to the AUSL website that organization is running 14 turn around elementary schools. But I could only find three of their schools on this list, I found that odd. Really the better than expected numbers yielded some more interesting than expected information.

    Rod Estvan

  • if i understand correctly, it's there b/c its kids are doing better than other schools with the same poverty percentages, magnet and otherwise - better than disney, or pershing, or beasley, or keller on this particular scale (poverty/performance)-- or is there something about vanderpoel that's different from the other magnets on the list?

  • do you know how to do that? it would be really interesting to see

  • what school?

  • I agree totally with the comment that the free reduced lunch status does not really give the whole picture of poverty in schools. But it is all we have.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:


    How do you explain schools like Solomon and Courtenay? Parent engagement? Great principals? Relatively small size, so easier to move the needle? Surely there are lessons to be learned from these shining examples. Maybe doing a few basic things right consistently can have a big impact.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I think that the slightly more recent article on how incredibly few questions a child has to answer correctly to "pass" the ISAT sheds some light on this. It appears that schools are doing better, when in reality, it is just getting easier to "meet" standards. Imo, the situation is bad enough that I don't think most parents are even really looking at the "meets" category, and are just looking at the exceeds category. I have seen kids who pass the ISATs who can hardly read, can't add decimals, etc....it is outrageous how low we have set the bar.

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