By Kiannah Sepeda-Miller
CPS’ fast-paced gains were assessed in a report prepared recently by Sean Reardon, a professor of education inequality at Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis.
By comparing Chicago Public Schools students’ scores on standardized tests to those of students nationally, Reardon found that the scores of CPS students in grades three through eight improved more from 2009-14 than did the average scores of all U.S. students during that time.
Reardon used scores from a standardized test all Illinois students are required to take to measure that growth. But because other states rely on different tests to gauge the same thing, he averaged actual scores in math and English across the nation to benchmark proficiency.
"We define grade level as the average of that grade in the country," Reardon said in a phone interview. "The proficiency levels that states set for their tests are defined by groups of experts that say, 'This is what we think a kid should know in this grade.’ "
By Reardon’s metric, CPS third-graders taking the test in 2014 performed significantly better than did third-graders who sat for it in 2009. The same held true for the other grades covered by the analysis as well.