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Chicago to Judge High Schools by College-Readiness Metric

Seems like just yesterday (oh, wait, it was yesterday) that we were telling you that New York City is on the cusp of including college-readiness metrics in the way it evaluates high schools. We said—and we've said it before—that this is something we'll be seeing more and more of, given the national focus on college readiness and the Obama administration's emphasis on judging schools according to how well they prepare students for work or education after high school.

And with that, we bring you news that Chicago is factoring college readiness into school evaluations as well. The Chicago Tribune reports that including college-readiness indicators in school evaluations could boost the number of high schools that must close in coming years.

A Power Point presentation given at the board of education's meeting yesterday makes the case for tightening the screws on high schools, noting that fewer than six in 10 students graduate, and that students' average ACT score is 17, short of the ACT's "college readiness" benchmark of 21. Only 8 percent of 11th graders are testing "college ready" in all subjects on the Prairie State Achievement Exam, which includes the ACT. (Those depressing data points, and more, were released in August.)

Neither the Tribune story nor the Power Point spells out what college-readiness metrics the district is planning to use to rate schools. In a press release issued for the board meeting, officials said they have commissioned new interim tests in literacy, math, and science that all 9th, 10th, and 11th graders will take this coming spring, to replace a patchwork of tests used for this purpose in the past. But it sounds like these tests are more for feedback purposes than for evaluation.

Stay tuned for more on this when we get it.

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