On the right track in Chicago

Chicago was once called the worst school district in the United States. Today, though, high school graduation rates there are rising, as are ACT scores, GPAs, and the number of students enrolled in AP courses. And gains in elementary test scores outpace national averages.

I recently visited Chicago—and a high school that has gone from one of its worst to one of its best—to see what was behind the city’s turnaround...

The opportunities and risks of K-12 student placement algorithms

How students are assigned to schools is changing, especially in urban areas. After decades of using students’ home addresses to determine school assignments, many U.S. cities are now turning to placement algorithms—alongside school choice policies—to determine which students can attend which particular schools. These algorithms, built on the Nobel Prize-winning theory of market design, elicit families’ ranked preferences for schools and use those preferences, along with schools’ priorities, to match students and schools.

English Learners in CPS

CPS is serving an increasing population of English Learners (EL), almost 20 percent as of the fall of 2018. Publicly reported statistics on academic achievement show that EL students are lagging behind their peers. The UChicago Consortium is focusing on an in-depth examination of the performance of EL students from pre-k through the elementary grades. 

Algebra in Eighth Grade

Policymakers have called for broadening access to Algebra in eighth grade. In partnership with AIR, the UChicago Consortium is examining whether longer-term course taking and achievement outcomes associated with taking eighth-grade Algebra differ for average and lower-performing students, who may be less prepared than their more advanced peers to take Algebra in eighth grade.

Computer Science Learning in Chicago

Many districts, including Chicago, are expanding their efforts to increase Computer Science (CS) education. In this study, we answer questions by taking a longitudinal look at CPS’s efforts to make introductory CS education universal at the high school level, examining student enrollment and performance in CS, as well as the influence of CS course-taking on student outcomes.

Putting the 5Essentials to Work

This two-year study examines the validity and use of 5Essentials data in school improvement. Our longitudinal validation work will include CPS elementary and high schools across six different outcomes. We will also conduct qualitative interviews in six schools to explore practitioners’ experiences with using 5Essentials data.

North Lawndale Cluster Initiative

The North Lawndale Cluster initiative aims to coordinate and align resources, programs and partnerships to support students from preschool through high school graduation in five schools in the North Lawndale area. The UChicago Consortium is evaluating the changes that occurred in the initiative schools over time, and the implications for the coordinated model.

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