by Alyssa DeCesari
Each year, Nurturing Wisdom helps students all over Chicagolandand San Francisco prepare for high school entrance exams. This is my third year guiding families through this process, and every year I’m struck by how stressful high school admissions is in the city of Chicago. Given the poor quality of many public neighborhood schools, more and more students are competing for an increasingly limited number of spaces at Catholic, Independent and public selective enrollment schools.
Selective enrollment public schools have become extremely difficult to get into. Admissions for those schools is on a 900 point scale – 300 points from 7th grade grades, 300 points from 7th grade standardized tests, and 300 points from the 8th grade entrance exam. The socioeconomic status of the zip code students live in is also taken into account for about 60% of accepted students. Some schools, such as Northside and Payton, require students to have near perfect grades and test scores to be admitted – this year, students admitted to those schools on ability alone had an average score of above 899.5!
But it’s not just Payton and Northside that are highly competitive. This year, it has gotten significantly more difficult to get into every selective enrollment school. One of the most striking differences from last year is that Lane Tech’s minimum score for students living in tier 4 (the tier that encompasses the most socioeconomically advantaged areas of the city) jumped up 57 points from last year’s 782 to this year’s 839.
It’s no surprise that both parents and students are very anxious about this process. At Nurturing Wisdom, we do our best to reduce the stress by helping students feel confident and prepared for their entrance exams. We try to focus on what we can control. Not every student will get into Northside or Payton, but we truly believe that there is a good school for everyone. We encourage parents to consider and apply to a variety of schools, and to celebrate every high school acceptance that comes their way!
The changes in CPS Selective Enrollment Schools score averages for admitted students is below:
Mean rank score last year 899, this year 899.53 (+.5)
Mean Tier 4 score last year 892, this year 897 (+5)
Mean rank score last year 899, this year 899.71 (+.7)
Mean Tier 4 score last year 894, this year 897 (+4)
Mean rank score last year 889, this year 891 (+2)
Mean Tier 4 score last year 873, this year 879 (+6)
Mean rank score last year 889, this year 894 (+5)
Mean Tier 4 score last year 872, this year 884 (+12)
Mean rank score last year 855, this year 876 (+21)
Mean Tier 4 score last year 806, this year 850 (+44)
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