CPS Reading Scores Up, But Not by Much, From 7 Years Ago

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chicago Public Schools finally showed some real progress in reading on national test results released Wednesday, but only compared to how its students fared at least seven years ago.

A new report on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress taken by 21 big-city districts was the second analysis in less than a month to indicate that, despite more than a decade of massive investments in reading, Chicago’s elementary-grade reading performance has barely budged in years.

CPS eighth-graders took seven years to finally produce real reading improvement, growing from an average score of 249 to 253 on a 500-point test known as “The Nation’s Report Card” between 2005 and 2011.

Fourth graders took even longer — nine years — to mount real reading gains and move from a 198 to 203 between 2003 and this year.

In between, the city’s flat or slight gains didn’t really amount to any kind of statistically significant improvement, a NAEP analysis of a representative sample of CPS students over time indicates.

Last month, a study by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research found that CPS elementary reading scores on other, higher-stakes tests — including the state’s achievement exams — really had not moved much between 1990 to 2009. To reach that conclusion, researchers adjusted for changes in the tests and study body.

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