What's Chicago's 2012 ISAT Score?

There’s nothing better than a conspiracy theory to help make it through the week so you can imagine my ears pricked up when this email about the mysterious lack of information about the spring ISAT scores came in the other day from an anonymous reader:

“Only a handful of scores were handed out in the entire system. This is July [well, almost] and the scores of the students were not even given out this year. The 3,6and 8th grade scores were given out of the summer school students with the scores of the past 2 years given. Is this because the Mayor does not want to reveal the student scores and use it for a tactic with the union? I believe that the scores were much higher than usual and not given out. Please look into this matter. Never has this happened before and the test was in March. You would think something is wrong or covered up. Where are they?”

Indeed, the ISATs were taken in March (see blog post about that here).  The official ISAT scores for individual schools don’t come out until the fall after the spring that they’re given — late October.  Statewide averages come out of the summer.  But the preliminary scores do usually get sent to the schools to be checked in the spring, and again checked over the summer before they’re finalized.  ISBE tells me that preliminary data were released earlier this month for a “correction window” that is apparently still open.  And CPS has in the past released districtwide numbers ahead of time.  (It was almost exactly a year ago that CPS released citywide ISAT 2011 scores — June 27, 2011 — and indeed there was some downplaying of the increases that took place.)

The reasons for such an attempt would be different now than they were then, but my guess is that the scores come out sometime soon and that we’re told to ignore them in some way, which will feel let’s admit it sort of strange after all those years of being told that test scores were all that mattered.  I’ve asked CPS about the status of the ISAT 2012 announcement and will let you know when I get a response.


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  • My children received their scores on the last day of school.

  • thanks, tracy -- anyone else get their scores, or see school or region/network scores?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Burley students received their prelim scores on the last day of school.

  • The ACT 2012 scores have been in school and student hands since the beginning of June. The CPS has not released those to the public, either. Hmmmmm.

  • The PSAE scores at my high school are higher than they have ever been- average score well over 18. We more than met our goals in terms of the ACT. I would assume that trend is the same at other high schools. I would have thought this would be big news (at least in terms of positive publicity for my neighborhood school). You would think that, at least, the area officer and staff would be trumpeting this news, but they aren't. It's curious.

  • What's so curious? Why release impoved scores when CPS and our dear dictator the Mayor keep telling us how bad our schools are with "the shortest day blah blah blah" Why give CTU any power in negotiations? What a bunch of BALONEY!!

  • You have to be careful in looking at the composite score. The break downs in each subject matter are important because the college readiness levels for each subject are different. Most important of all is PLAN to ACT growth. What percentage of students made expected gains and what was the average growth? That's what the CPS needs to release.

  • ACT average is for each school what is posted in all the newspapers. That is how high schools are judged by the public. PSAE was taken in April. PLAN, etc. were just taken at the beginning of this month. I'd bet that if the PLAN scores are considered good (whatever that is), that they wouldn't trumpet those results either. I agree with 30 years.

  • Thought-Rahm is NOT releasing ISAT scores because they went up. This now f%&#s up his longer school day mantra. Teachers are producing well on the school day students had last year-so, LSD does not need to be so long after all. Gives oparents and CTU fat on the bone he has tossed them.

  • What was taken in April was a fake Plan. The real PLAN occurs in Sept. of Sophomore year, while the ACT is taken in April. The growth from that Plan test to the ACT is a pretty good measure of whether students are learning. Did those students make expected gains?

  • I did not say that PLAN was taken in April at my school, only the PSAE was taken in April. Yes, the current juniors took the PLAN as 10th graders and the EXPLORE as 9th graders so they could plot their learning progress.

    Any assessment shows growth or lack of it. Why force students to take the ACT/PSAE if the test results don't matter (all of a sudden).

    I should have elaborated and said this: Based on the PLAN test results, taken last year by the current juniors, who took the ACT/PSAE this year, that my school's ACT scores exceeded the target goal - that is growth. That shows students are learning. The ACT demonstrates any number of things- test-taking growth being one.

    The ACT score exceeded expectations based on the PLAN results the same students took as sophomores. Yes, CPS should publish growth percentages and everything else- otherwise why require all students to take the test.

    CPS always focused on ACT scores for each high school. Are they now diverting attention from significant gains because it doesn't suit their talking points, so CPS want to downplay achievement on the PSAE and ISAT for schools that show significant improvement and meet target goals for the ACT based on the PLAN tests taken the year before?

    From CPS Sample School Progress Report:
    "PLAN: A test taken in 10th grade that serves as the midpoint check of academic progress in high school; designed to improve students’ preparation for education, training, and work after high school while they still have time to adjust their high school courses; the content of the PLAN is similar to the ACT
    ACT: A test taken in the 11th grade that measures high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college level work; administered as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE)"

  • I'm always amazed at the number of conspiracies cooked up in CPS. ISAT scores will be released first week of July. That's not that different from previous years. I recall one year they weren't released until near the end of summer. Take a chill pill, folks. No matter what the scores are a decent politician can spin them however he wants.

  • Sorry. Don't think delays have anything to do with negotiations and probably more with who scored what. Also, remember there was an interesting change in testing procedures - no one was allowed to hold onto scantrons this year. They had to be turned in and ready the next day by 10 a.m.

  • "Scantrons were turned in at 10 AM the next day." That was good because high school students got their ACT scores on their Gradebook account within 2 weeks of taking the test. The same time the school administrators found out.

    Why don't they publish the scores? You are right! It's "probably more with who scored what." Disaggregation of data? I think not. Spin development? Yes, it is.

  • I do not want to rain on claims of major academic achievement gains being made by CPS students in the 2012 testing cycle, but if we look at the percentage of CPS students last year (2011) who met ACT's college readiness benchmark standards it was pathetic. Now we do need to understand that students who meet a Benchmark on the ACT have approximately a 50 percent chance of earning a B or better and approximately a 75 percent chance of earning a C or better in the corresponding college course or courses. In 2011, including charter school students, 21% of CPS students met college benchmark standards in reading, 19% in math, 11% in science and 38% in English.

    CPS's scores are actually a little better than those for Proviso Township HSD 209 which is an overwhelmingly black and Hispanic poor district. CPS's college readiness scores are much better than those for East Saint Louis SD 189 an overwhelmingly black district very poor district , they are better than those for Morton HSD 201 which is overwhelmingly Hispanic, the scores are much better than those for Waukegan CUSD 60 which is also an overwhelmingly Hispanic and Black school district, they are in fact better than those for Hillcrest HS which although a mostly black high school has none the less far more non-poor students than do most CPS high schools.

    But truth of the situation is it isn't only Chicago's poor minority students who are not college ready it is almost universal across our state that these students aren't ready for college. The sad truth is on a national scale according to ACT's 2011 data only 25% of all students who took the ACT met all four benchmark standards , nationally only 4% of black students and 11% of Hispanic students met all the college ready standards.

    Let's look at the competition urban minority students face here in Illinois. At Lake Forest High School 79% of students met college benchmark standards in reading, 79% in math, 63% in science and 90% in English. At Libertyville HS the percentages were slightly less, at Hinsdale Central the percentages were slightly better than those for Lake Forest, at the largely white Pekin HS [located half way between Chicago and St Louis] ,which is overwhelmingly white but not wealthy, 44% of students met college benchmark standards in reading, 44% in math, 27% in science and 59% in English.

    Overall while some academic improvement for CPS students is a good thing, I doubt that whatever the improvement is that it will overall make the majority of our poor minority students competitive with children of wealth in Illinois or even white students who come from moderate income communities. Given the bigger picture of things I don't think the CPS administration has to hide test data in order to justify its claims of CPS students being behind the game. But what the CPS administration does have to at least play down is the fact that when compared to other school districts with large minority populations CPS unfortunately looks relatively good due to how rigged the game is against minoirty students.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I don't think that your answer addresses the real issues in CPS. We have a real crisis of not having enough instructional experts. We have been in dire need of ONE academic vision with "experts" who have done more than attend one workshop or read a couple of books.There are schools who are making continuous gains, and I don't think you can discount that. There are a lot of teachers and some schools doing great things. We just don't have enough expertise to galvanize and help teachers learn what is being asked. The district is going to learn the hard way that using E-3's when teachers have not been given appropriate PD is not fixing this problem. If the district can shift more positive focus to the classroom and supporting BOTH teachers and administrators under ONE vision, we will see more aggressive growth.

  • CPS students already so far behind by the time they enter high school, even if they made expected gains, they would not be college ready.

  • our (elementary) school's preliminary results showed a HUGE increase from last year. wouldn't be surprised if others' did also.

  • another take is that the city and board are trying to wean us from our ISAT dependency -- remember?


  • Individual school/student ISAT scores were posted on the Dashboard reports section today. Of course they didn't let anyone know until late afternoon after most had left work and Dashboard can only be accessed through the cps website. Well, through remote access too if you have the proper credentials and such...

  • Oops, also meant to say that these are "preliminary results." And FYI, my "just a neighborhood school" in a crummy neighborhood without a longer day or extra money did great! Take that Emmanuel!

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