Academic Performance Indicator for Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is developing a new accountability system to make the district less reliant on standardized testing as a measure of school quality and instead focus on the metrics that measure school conditions and the resources and support schools are being provided. The board has established policy for this effort and CPS is working with technical advisors and stakeholders to develop school quality metrics.

To align with this new approach to school quality, CPS is developing an Academic Performance Indicator (API) so that schools can better use standardized test data to understand the success of their interventions, including professional development, changes in curriculum, and innovative approaches to student support. This new approach to accountability and measuring academic performance is intended to be more equitable and provide school and district leaders greater insight into the efficacy of local and district-wide professional support. Chicago’s leadership on accountability is already informing state and national policy conversations, and we expect it will continue to do so.

The API will provide schools with information about their respective students’ progress at different grade levels and allow schools to track cohorts over time. It will also allow for comparisons across schools and for aggregate measures at the network and district level to ascertain whether concerns about student progress are isolated to individual schools or are the result of larger systemic issues. CPS believes this academic measure is only one measure of school quality and must be contextualized with other measures, and that a measure of student progress can provide schools with the information needed to investigate where quality issues lie and, therefore, appropriately focus resources. In concert with other metrics CPS is developing, the new student academic metric provides an innovative approach to accountability, data use, and school improvement. This work is intended to validate that the API can be used for accountability purposes, for example, public reporting and identifying schools for support, and determine whether it helps support school data use – key validity criteria for accountability metrics.

Our Role

Since 2021, EdSystems has supported CPS in developing the API for the district’s new accountability system. Currently, EdSystems is supporting research into the metric and working to collect feedback on the implementation process. EdSystems is also supporting CPS as the metric is rolled out as part of other processes, including the school improvement process. EdSystems will continue to support the metric rollout and help ensure that educators feel supported in their use of data.

Senior Fellow, Project Lead ILDS 2.0

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