NCLB Standards Often Misinterpreted for Charter School Networks

Dec 22, 2010, 18:30 ET from Chicago International Charter School

Chicago International Charter School proves its campuses are among the best of non-selective enrollment schools in Chicago

CHICAGO, Dec. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Several facts were misinterpreted in the Chicago Tribune article from December 15, 2010 entitled "Critics force CPS to table charter vote". Chicago International Charter School (CICS) wishes to clarify several points about how its academic performance was portrayed.

When Ahmed-Ullah refers to CICS being on the "Federal Academic Watch List," she was speaking of how CICS, a 15-campus public charter school network, is rated by the Average Yearly Progress (AYP) standards set forth by No Child Left Behind. AYP is calculated by a combination of factors including the percentage of students who meet or exceed targets on standardized tests like the ISAT, the PSAE, and IAA, as well as high school graduation rates.

There are several issues with using AYP to measure the performance of charter school networks like CICS:

"That CICS has not met Annual Yearly Progress does not mean it isn't making remarkable gains on the student level," said Andrew Broy, President of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. "First of all, the rating does not apply to individual campuses but to the whole network the Avalon, West Belden, and Bucktown campuses met and exceeded standards in both reading and math; the Prairie, Irving Park, and Longwood campuses met and exceeded standards in math. The Longwood and Ralph Ellison campuses met and exceeded standards in high school graduation rates."

"CICS is consistently ranked among Chicago's best non-selective enrollment schools," continued Broy. "They serve a population which is 83 percent low-income, 70 percent African-American, and 23 percent Hispanic. Their students have traditionally been underserved by the neighborhood schools from which they originate. While not every school in the network did well according to the measurement of AYP, many students come in to CICS performing below grade level. Even so, reviewing CPS performance reports will show that CICS students scored above the district average on both the ISAT and the PSAE by as many as 16.6 percentage points."

AYP dictates that if a school has more than 40 students in a specific subgroup (such as ethnicity, income level, disability, or English proficiency), that subgroup is calculated individually. If a single subgroup doesn't reach the predetermined goals, then the entire network doesn't make AYP.

AYP doesn't capture the fact that all CICS students make progress, not just high-performing students. .

CICS has earned the privilege of expanding to serve more students. Chicago International's high schools are ranked among the top of Chicago's non-selective enrollment schools, and the new ChicagoQuest schools before the CPS Board are high schools. ChicagoQuest will be a mix of the best of the CICS Curricula which focus on the use of educational technology to support whole-school reform.  The Quest2Learn curricula will be used at three campuses on the north, south, and west sides of the city.  This curricula uses innovative pedagogy that immerses students in differentiated, challenge-based learning project that require student-led project design, collaboration, and systems thinking as key literacies of the 21st century.

About Chicago International Charter School (CICS)

The mission of CICS is to provide, through innovation and choice, an attractive and rigorous college-preparatory education that meets the needs of today's students.  CICS was founded on the belief that every child has the right to a high quality education and currently operates a network of 15 campuses serving nearly 9,000 K-12 students across the city of Chicago. For more information, visit www.chicagointl.org.

CONTACT: Kate Floyd of Chicago International Charter School (CICS), (w) +1-312-651-5007, (m) +1-617-851-9067, or kfloyd@chicagointl.org

SOURCE Chicago International Charter School