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A CPS that considers science, social studies marks instead of standardized tests to advance to the next grade

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My grades in science and social studies went up, and my standardized test scores disappeared.

The requirements for Chicago Public Schools students to progress to the next grade are changing, and districts are placing more emphasis on core subjects and helping students who are falling behind to keep up. increase.

School districts did not withhold students during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic because of the unprecedented conditions children faced academically and socially with remote learning.

Officials have been reviewing grade retention and promotion policies since then, and submitted an updated one to the school board on Wednesday, who approved the new rules.

Bogdana Chkoumbova, the district’s chief education officer, said the goal was not to increase or decrease the number of students because of poor grades, but to “make sure students get the support they need” based on academic performance. to do”.

The current policy remains in effect this year. Then, beginning in the 2023-24 school year, students will be evaluated for promotion or retention at the end of grades 2, 5 and 8 instead of grades 3, 6 and 8.

In Year 2, students must earn at least a ‘C’ in reading comprehension. Their grades reflect satisfactory class test scores and consistent completion of assignments. Students who do not meet these requirements will still progress to Grade 3 if the intervention plan and goals are implemented and the student achieves those goals.

In grades 5 and 8, students are required to reach a “C” mark in reading, writing, math and, for the first time, science and social studies. The same standards apply to class tests and assignments. Interventions and goals help students move on to the next grade here, too, but those kids must also complete summer school.

If children assigned to summer school do not complete satisfactorily, they will be kept in grade for the next grade under the new policy and given a personal study plan that includes in-school, after-school and more. personalized intervention.

The district said interventions could include high-volume tutoring and targeted support for specific skills.

“Fundamentally, this is a professional decision by school staff, teachers and principals to really get evidence that interventions are being offered to students,” Chkoumbova said.

“Summer school is just a last resort. And I really hope that the summer school program will be more than just a remedial or academic program, it will be a fulfilling and stimulating opportunity for children to re-engage and participate.” is.”

Chalkbeat Chicago first reported Black and Latinx students are disproportionately required to repeat grades, in a draft policy in December, citing research that showed that detaining children hurts them more than they help them. At the same time, according to Chalkbeat, experts have found that retention can actually make students more likely to drop out of high school.

CPS said it plans to set grade, promotion and retention standards so that students face similar requirements across school districts. The district conducts unannounced classroom visits to ensure instruction is at the appropriate grade level and grades on the gradebook are awarded in accordance with district policy.

Educational equity advocates often point out that grades can be subjectively awarded according to standards set by various schools and teachers.

“I have to say that I trust the way the school professionals – teachers and principals – organize support,” Chkoumbova said. “But that’s why there’s also this kind of layer that encourages this introspective question.

“If my child does not meet the standards, have I done all I can to help my child meet the standards? I have.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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