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CPS Test Scores Improve, But Still Not Enough

By Soyoung Kwak in News on Jun 25, 2011 6:00PM

CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard

Recently released ISAT test scores for Illinois students in grades 3 through 8 show that Chicago Public Schools students have improved in nearly all subjects, bringing some good news to CPS. For example, about 80% of students have met the state's math standards and almost 70% of students met reading standards. But the real question is, are these numbers good enough for CPS CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard? Apparently, no.

As reported in WBEZ, Brizard acknowledges that the ISAT test results show some promise, but results from a more "rigorous" test, EXPLORE, indicate that CPS' eighth graders are not prepared to take on college coursework. Judging from the results of the EXPLORE test, students are hitting the mark for subjects like math and reading in much lower numbers. Using these numbers, Brizard is backing Mayor Emanuel's call for longer school days:

"We need much more time, not just during the school day, but a much longer school year. We have a lot of kids who are falling off our pipeline that we have to bring into the fold. And we can't do this with the kind of time allotment we have right now," he said.

The number of students in exceeding the state standard passing marks for the exams increased very little, and this concerns school officials who believe that "just passing" state exams doesn't really mean much within the big picture, if that "big picture" means having students go on to matriculate to college.

Could a longer school day, or even a longer school year, really remedy stalled test score increases? The debate continues.