Data Definitions

ACCESS test

ACCESS assesses social and academic English proficiency and is administered to students as early as kindergarten. Students who are English Learners take the test once annually until they reach a score that meets the proficiency benchmark. The ACCESS test is different from the screener test used to determine if students are eligible for English Learner services. For more details, see: isbe.net/Pages/ACCESS-for-ELLs.aspx.

In the 2015–16 school year, ACCESS 2.0 replaced the existing ACCESS test. This new test was more aligned to standards of college and career readiness and therefore more rigorous. Further, the cut score used to determine proficiency also changed over the years. This means that ACCESS test scores prior to the 2015–16 school year should not be compared to scores on the ACCESS 2.0 test. These changes to the test may also result in trend lines that show a spike in the number of students identified as English Learners in the 2015–16 school year.

Attendance

Each students’ attendance rate is calculated as the number of days they are present divided by the number of days they are enrolled.

Census Data

Total Population

The total number of people living in the community area, of any age. Data in this census table is separate from data available in the rest of the tool, which deals specifically with data on students in Chicago Public Schools.

Race and Ethnicity Breakdown

Data are grouped into five race/ethnicity categories. The “Latino” category is composed of people who self-identified as Hispanic or Latino, regardless of which race they selected. All other race/ethnicity categories are composed of people who identified as not Hispanic or Latino, and the category is based on the race they selected. The “Other” category consists of categories that were combined due to low N’s at the city level: American Indian and Alaska Native, two or more races, and some other unlisted races.

Household Annual Income Breakdown

The combined income of individuals sharing a housing unit (related or not), or an individual’s income if they live alone. Data is organized into four categories based on income level; for context, $25,000 is close to the federal poverty level for a family of 4 and the median household income in Chicago is approximately $60,000.

High Schoolers in Public Schools

Of students enrolled in grades 9-12, this percent attend Chicago Public Schools (CPS), as opposed to a non-CPS option (e.g., private school, homeschool, religious school). For communities/regions with low public school enrollment, the data in this tool should be interpreted with caution as the experiences of students that are enrolled in non-CPS schools is not captured in the tool.

Highest Education Level

Data are grouped into four categories. “High school or less” is defined as anyone whose highest level of education was less than a high school diploma. “High school diploma” includes those whose highest level of education was completing a high school degree or equivalent (such as a GED). “Some college, no degree” represents those who attended some college but did not complete any degree. “College degree” includes anyone who completed an associate or bachelor’s degree or higher, including a masters or doctorate.

College Enrollment

The proportion of graduates who enrolled directly in college in the fall following spring or summer high school graduation. Data on college enrollment come from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), which houses enrollment and graduation records for colleges throughout the United States. This does not include students who delayed college entry. Enrollments from North Park University are missing from 2020 and 2021 rates. Students who received their high school diplomas from Options schools (sometimes called alternative schools) are included in high school graduation rates and in the denominators of college enrollment rates.

Two-year Enrollee

Students who enroll in a two-year college the fall after graduating from high school. [[MORE:inst_enroll]]

Four-year Enrollee

Students who enroll in a four-year college the fall after graduating from high school. [[MORE:inst_enroll]]

College Completion

The proportion of two-year and four-year college enrollees who completed a degree or certificate within six years of high school graduation. Data on college completion comes from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). Students who enrolled in a college that does not provide graduation records to the NSC, or whose records are suppressed due to FERPA or other reasons, are not included in these rates.

College Persistence

Enrolled continuously (no semesters off) for the four semesters after high school graduation in one or more two-year or four-year colleges, or completed a college degree or credential within two years. Summer semesters are not counted. Data on college enrollment and completion comes from National Student Clearinghouse (NSC).

Categories for immediate 4-year enrollees:

Remained in a 4-year college

Enrolled continuously (no semesters off) in four-year institutions during the fall and spring semesters of the first two years following high school graduation. [[MORE:inst_persist]]

Transferred to a 2-year college

Enrolled continuously (no semesters off) in a mix of four-year and two-year institutions or earned a credential during the fall and spring semesters of the first two years following high school graduation. [[MORE:inst_persist]]

Did not persist

Was not enrolled during at least one fall or spring semester of the first two years following high school graduation, and did not complete a credential within two years. [[MORE:inst_persist]]

Categories for immediate 2-year enrollees:

Remained in a 2-year college

Enrolled continuously (no semesters off) in two-year institutions or earned a credential during the fall and spring semesters of the first two years following high school graduation. [[MORE:inst_persist]]

Transferred to a 4-year college

Enrolled continuously (no semesters off) in a mix of two-year and four-year institutions during the fall and spring semesters of the first two years following high school graduation. [[MORE:inst_persist]]

Did not persist

Was not enrolled during at least one fall or spring semester of the first two years following high school graduation, and did not complete a credential within two years. [[MORE:inst_persist]]

College Types

2-year college

Institutions classified in the IPEDs data as having only programs that are less than four years.

4-year college

Institutions classified in the IPEDs data as having programs that are four years or higher.

Community Areas

There are 77 officially defined community areas in Chicago. Community areas are distinct from Chicago’s more commonly recognized neighborhoods, however there is considerable overlap between the two. Where neighborhood boundaries are dynamic and may be recognized differently by different people, community areas have static boundaries which align with the United States census. Community areas were originally defined in the 1920s by social scientists at the University of Chicago and are still used by the City of Chicago today.

Comparison Schools

Comparison schools have similar ninth grade students and geographic proximity. These are schools that are predicted to have a similar high school graduation rate based on the characteristics their students had when they started high school that matter most for graduating high school. Comparison schools without data are not included in the comparison school average.

Core Courses

Core courses are English and Language Arts, Science, Math and Social Studies.

Eighth grade GPA & attendance categories

Similar to the elementary on-track categories used by CPS, Condensed EOT groups students into four categories based on their GPA and attendance. The four categories are: On-Track (above a 3.0 GPA and above 90 percent attendance), Academic Support (below a 3.0 GPA but above 90 percent attendance), Attendance Support (above a 3.0 GPA but below 90 percent attendance) and Intensive Support (below a 3.0 GPA and below 90 percent attendance).[[MORE:eot_groups]]

Attendance 90% – 100% < 90% GPA < 3.0 3.0 – 4.0 Academic Support On-Track Intensive Support Attendance Support

Chicago Public Schools 3rd- through 8th-grade students, 2018–19

Among 141,565 students, 71,072 students (50%) were in the On-Track category, 54,019 (38%) were in the Academic Support category, 4,838 (3%) were in the Attendance Support category, and 11,636 (8%) were in the Intensive Support category.

These groupings are intended to help educators strategize around school-wide trends, as well as identify students that may need targeted support in order to ensure they are prepared for success. Research using data from CPS students in 3rd-8th grade in school year 2018-19 showed a strong link between students' middle grades GPA and attendance and later outcomes.

For more information on the Condensed EOT categories and the research behind them, see this report.

On-Track

On-Track refers to greater than 3.0 GPA, greater than 90% attendance. More than 90% of students in this category went on to graduate from high school and over half earned a 3.0 at graduation; nearly 3 in 4 enrolled in college, with more than half enrolling in a four year college. For elementary and middle grades educators, the goal is to get more students in this category and, once there, to engage, challenge and support these students so that they stay on-track.[[MORE:eot_groups]]

Academic Support

Academic Support refers to less than a 3.0 GPA, greater than 90% attendance. Academic Support students come to school regularly yet still are not earning 3.0 GPAs, suggesting something about the curriculum, assessment, or classroom culture was not working for many of them. Only 17% earned a 3.0 at high school graduation and 20% enrolled in 4-year colleges. To support this group, educators may need to make whole-school and whole-classroom changes, including assessing and addressing student’s sense of engagement and belonging in their classes. In certain cases, particularly those where students are failing core classes, more specific, individual intervention may be necessary.[[MORE:eot_groups]]

Attendance Support

Attendance Support refers to greater than a 3.0 GPA, less than 90% attendance. Though they are able to maintain a relatively high GPA, Attendance Support students graduated high school below district average and fewer than half attended college. Since some of these students may be experiencing special circumstances like prolonged sickness or unstable housing, educators need to actively identify what is preventing them from regularly attending school and to provide some focused support to improve their attendance.[[MORE:eot_groups]]

Intensive Support

Intensive Support refers to less than a 3.0 GPA, less than 90% attendance. Since Intensive Support students struggle with both grades and attendance, they likely require more intensive interventions and personalized support. More than half of these students did not graduate high school, and more than 80% did not enroll directly in college. When a student’s GPA and attendance both fall below these thresholds, schools likely need to immediately work with the student and their family to identify the root cause and provide the necessary support to get them back on-track.[[MORE:eot_groups]]

Missing 8th grade GPA and/or attendance data

Students whose 8th grade grades or attendance were not available. Grades are not available for students who attended charter schools or a school outside of CPS for 8th grade

English Learners

While reporting data on active English Learners calls attention to students in need of the most support, excluding former English Learners obscures the success of students who do reach English proficiency. Therefore, we group students by whether they were ever classified as active English Learners, were classified as former English Learners, or were never classified as English Learners. We identify students as English Learners based on whether they took the ACCESS test (see “ACCESS test”: definition above) of English proficiency and whether they reached proficiency on the test—not whether they were actually receiving services. Because ACCESS is required by the state for all English Learners, this allows us to include both English Learners who received services and those who did not.

While some ACCESS test data was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is incomplete and not externally available for the 2020-2021 school year. Therefore, we have held all students’ EL status constant from 2019-2020 (SY20) to 2020-2021 (SY21). This means that if a students’ score on the SY20 ACCESS test did not meet the proficiency level, we assumed that student continued to have an active EL status in SY21. While this may misrepresent a small number of students’ actual statuses in SY21, we believe it to be an accurate representation for the majority of students and a more useful data point than simply suppressing the SY21 English Learner data. According to CPS, EL supports provided during remote learning in the pandemic were as similar as possible to normal EL supports

Students who were classified as active English Learners

Students who took the ACCESS test of English proficiency during the school year, and/or whose prior-year ACCESS test score indicated they were eligible to receive English Learner services. [[MORE:ell_groups]]

Students who were classified as former English Learners

Students who were classified as active English Learners at one point during their time at CPS based on their score on the ACCESS test or screener test, but are not currently classified as active English Learners. [[MORE:ell_groups]]

Students who were never classified as English Learners

Students who were never eligible to receive EL services, either because their native language was English or because they scored high enough on the English proficiency screener test—which is different from the ACCESS test—when they entered CPS to be considered proficient in English. [[MORE:ell_groups]]

Freshman Enrollment

First-time, full-time enrollment in a Chicago Public Schools high school, including charter schools. Students attending private school are not in this data tool.

Freshman On-Track

On-Track

A student is on-track if they fail no more than one semester of a core course and earn at least 5 credits by the end of ninth-grade. The Freshman OnTrack rate does not include ninth-graders who attended charter schools because the district did not receive ninth-grade grades from charter schools until recently.

Off-Track

A student is off-track if they fail more than one semester of a core course and earns fewer than 5 credits by the end of freshman year.

Gender

Gender reflects what is in CPS’s records in the students’ sixth, seventh, or eighth grade school year for middle grades milestones on the elementary tool, and the fall of their eighth grade school year for the remainder of the elementary tool milestones. For the high school and community tools, gender reflects what is in CPS’s records in the students’ first semester as a CPS high school student for the purposes of calculating Freshman OnTrack and high school graduation, and their last semester as a CPS high school student for college milestones. Historically, data has been collected in a way that groups students into one of two categories: male and female. Starting in school year 2020-2021, the categories in the CPS demographic questionnaire were: Male, Female, and Non-binary; however, we are not currently reporting data on non-binary students due to small group sizes. We hope in the future to be able to report data that more fully and accurately describes the identities of CPS students.

GPA (Cumulative Graduating GPA)

Cumulative graduating grade point averages (GPAs) are calculated as the unweighted average of a student’s entire credit-bearing load. All high school graduation GPA calculations are cumulative and include both core and non-core courses.

GPA (Freshman Core GPA)

Freshman core grade point averages (GPAs) are calculated as the unweighted average of a student’s grades in freshman core courses. This includes only courses in Math, English, Science, and Social Studies.

GPA (8th Grade Core GPA)

Eighth grade core grade point averages (GPAs) are calculated as the unweighted average of a student’s grades in 8th grade core courses. This includes only courses in Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies.

High School Graduation

The proportion of first-time ninth-graders who graduate high school in four years, including the summer after their fourth year. A student’s graduation is counted towards the graduation rate of the community area or high school where that student began and finished their first year in the school district. Students who transfer into CPS high schools are included with their corresponding ninth-grade cohort. Students who transfer out of CPS are not included in the high school graduation rate. The To&Through Project uses a high school graduation rate that includes students who graduated through Options schools (i.e., alternative schools). Students who received their high school diplomas from Options schools (sometimes called alternative schools) are included in our high school graduation rates and in the denominators of college enrollment rates.

High School Types

Neighborhood School

CPS schools that have a defined attendance boundary. All CPS students have an assigned high school based on their residential address. If a student lives within a schools’ attendance boundary, it is known as their “assigned neighborhood school”. Some neighborhood schools also accept students who do not live within their attendance boundary.

Neighborhood — Assigned

Students who attend a neighborhood school and have a residential address within that school’s attendance boundaries.

Neighborhood — Other

Students who attend a neighborhood school and who have a residential address outside of that school’s attendance boundaries.

Charter School

CPS schools that are publicly funded but independently run. All CPS charter schools are open enrollment, meaning students from any neighborhood are eligible for enrollment via a lottery system.

Selective Enrollment School

CPS schools that admit students from across the city. Students must apply to gain admission; criteria for admission include students’ grades and scores on standardized tests and an entrance exam, and the majority of seats are allocated according to a tiered system based on socioeconomic status. No student is guaranteed a seat based on their home address.

Citywide School

CPS schools that do not have a defined attendance boundary. Some may offer preferential admittance to students from within a certain area.

Military Academy / Service Learning Academy School

Open enrollment CPS high schools that specialize in JROTC programming; students must meet a minimum standardized test score for admission.

Options Schools

Non-traditional CPS high schools that serve students outside of traditional school-day structures.

Specialty Schools

CPS schools that provide educational, therapeutic, and sometimes residential services to special education students with serious or complicated clinical needs.

Other Schools

Other CPS schools that do not have specified attendance boundaries. Some, such as magnet schools, may have a curriculum specialized in a particular area - for example, fine & performing arts, STEM, or language – while others do not have a particular curricular focus. Some may have test score and/or GPA requirements for admission, while others do not have any criteria for admission.

Institutional Graduation Rate

The proportion of full-time, first-time college freshmen who earned a bachelor’s degree within six years. Data on institutional graduation rates come from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which is collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Low Outcome

Fewer than 5 or 5 percent of students achieved the outcome, so data is suppressed in order to preserve student anonymity.

Missing OnTrack

Missing on-track data refers to students missing course credit or grade data for one or more semesters. These are often students who transferred into this district from another district or were previously enrolled in a charter school.

N/A

An N/A label means that the data is unavailable.

Not Shown

Fewer than 10 students are in the student group, so this rate has been suppressed in order to protect students’ privacy.

Networks

Schools within CPS are organized into networks, which are led by a Chief and have a small staff which provides an additional layer of support to their schools.

Post-secondary Attainment Index

The Post-secondary Attainment Index (PAI) provides an estimate of the proportion of ninth-graders who will earn any college degree or certificate within 10 years of starting high school. Like the BDAI, this index accounts for students who delay college entry or enroll in a two-year college; in addition, it accounts for students who do not earn a bachelor’s degree, but do earn an associate degree or certificate. The PAI uses current rates of high school graduation, any college enrollment, and any college completion. When a degree completion rate for a particular category of students is not calculable for a given school because of insufficient group size, we substitute the district-level degree completion rate for students in the same category.

Post-secondary Attainment Index Unavailable

None

Race/Ethnicity

CPS administrative records group students into the following race/ethnicity categories: African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Multiracial, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander/Hawaiian, White, and Not Available. Because some of these categories contain so few students that showing trends on the tool would not be practical, To&Through consolidates these categories into the following: Asian (which includes students in the Asian and Pacific Islander/Hawaiian categories), Black, Latino, Multiracial, Native American/Alaskan Native, White, and Not Available.

We acknowledge that the race/ethnicity categories available in our data do not accurately reflect the full spectrum of races and ethnicities embodied by CPS students and that they mask diversity within racial groups. We hope in the future to be able to report data that more fully and accurately describes the identities of CPS students.

Regions

Regions are combinations of several neighboring community areas (see above for the definition of “community area”). These groupings are used to describe different parts of the city, but are not intended to reflect official or natural geographic divisions.

Students’ College Access Level Groups

Students’ college access levels are based on 2022 data analysis from the To&Through Project about the academic qualifications of students that make them likely to be accepted to colleges with different levels of selectivity. The framework breaks students into different groups based on their graduating GPA and ACT scores (or converted SAT scores). Students with selective access are likely to be accepted to selective and very selective four-year colleges, students with somewhat selective access are likely to be accepted to somewhat selective and non-selective four-year colleges, and students with two-year access are likely to be accepted to two-year colleges. These groups enable students to understand where they may be most likely to gain admission, and help schools to understand the enrollment patterns for students with different college access levels. [[MORE:qual_groups]]

Composite SAT Scores Missing SAT < 960 960 – 1050 1060 – 1150 1160+ Unweighted GPA in Core Courses < 2.0 2.0–2.4 2.5–2.9 3.0–3.4 3.5–4.0 Students with Selective College Access Students with Somewhat Selective College Access Students with Limited College Access Two-year colleges Two-year colleges Non-selective four-year colleges Non-selective four-year colleges Somewhat selective colleges Somewhat selective colleges Somewhat selective colleges Somewhat selective colleges Somewhat selective colleges Selective colleges Selective colleges Selective colleges Selective / very selective colleges Selective / very selective colleges Selective / very selective colleges Very selective colleges Very selective colleges Selective / very selective colleges Selective / very selective colleges Selective colleges Selective colleges Somewhat selective colleges Somewhat selective colleges Somewhat selective colleges Non-selective four-year colleges

Students with Selective College Access

Students whose GPA and ACT scores (or converted SAT scores) suggest they have at least a 50 percent chance of being admitted to selective or very selective four-year colleges (based on Barron’s selectivity categories). [[MORE:qual_groups]]

Students with Somewhat Selective College Access

Students whose GPA and ACT scores (or converted SAT scores) suggest they have at least a 50 percent chance of being admitted to somewhat selective four-year colleges (based on Barron’s selectivity categories). [[MORE:qual_groups]]

Students with Two-Year College Access

Seniors whose GPA and ACT scores (or converted SAT scores) give them access to non-selective or two-year colleges. [[MORE:qual_groups]]

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities are often treated as a single group. However, students’ disability or disabilities vary widely in type and extent. Students can also have multiple disabilities. As a result, their experiences in school and attainment rates are far from homogeneous.

We group students based on whether they have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) related to a disability. If a student is identified by the district as having one or more disabilities, we categorize the student based on the primary disability type designated by CPS (a student’s primary disability is designated by CPS during the services eligibility determination process, during which an IEP team determines whether a student is eligible for services under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)). We report rates for students with IEPs related to a specific learning disability, and students with IEPs related to another disability. After conversations with CPS’s Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services, we decided to categorize the data in this way because students with learning disabilities represent a plurality of students with IEPs and because finer categorizations of IEPs have changed over time. The “students with other IEPs” category includes students with a wide range of disabilities, including physical, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities.

The specific definitions of each disability type can be found in the CPS Procedural Manual: Guidance on Providing Special Education and Related Services to Students with Disabilities Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) published in August 2021.

Students with an IEP related to a learning disability

This group includes students whose primary disability for which they have an IEP is a Specific Learning Disability (SLD), which is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. [[MORE:iep_groups]]

Students with an IEP related to any other disability

This group includes students with IEPs related to any disability other than Specific Learning Disability (SLD). These include: Autism, Deaf/Blindness, Deafness, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Other Health Impairment, Physical (Orthopedic) Impairment, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment. This does not include students who currently have a 504 plan but do not have an IEP. [[MORE:iep_groups]]

Underrepresented Minority Graduation Rate

The Underrepresented Minority graduation rate describes the graduation rate (at 150 percent of standard time, so 3 years for students in 2-year colleges and 6 years for students in 4-year colleges) for students whose race/ethnicity is described in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPED) data as one of the following: Black or African American, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

Unexpected Value

An unexpected value was reported. This is an internal error due to an issue in the dataset. Please report the issue to toandthrough@uchicago.edu.

Data Sources

UChicago CCSR’s archive of CPS administrative records includes student demographics, test scores, course grades, and high school graduation records. With the exception of course grades used to compute GPAs, all of these data are available for charter school students.

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) are used for all college enrollment and college completion rates. The NSC houses enrollment and graduation records for colleges throughout the United States and covers 98 percent of all postsecondary enrollments nationally, including undocumented immigrants. Data on the institutional graduation rates of the colleges attended by CPS graduates are from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which collects data from all colleges that participate in federal student financial aid programs. Selectivity categories are based on ratings from Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges (2012). All of these data are available for charter school graduates.

Rates shown on this tool may not match those calculated by CPS, both for SQRP or other purposes. The To&Through Project and CPS use slightly different rules when calculating these rates.

This site provides applications using data that has been modified for use from its original source, www.cityofchicago.org, the official website of the City of Chicago. The City of Chicago makes no claims as to the content, accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of any of the data provided at this site. The data provided at this site is subject to change at any time. It is understood that the data provided at this site is being used at one’s own risk.

American Community Survey five-year estimates

This source provides information on the entire population of Chicago and is released by the US Census Bureau on a yearly basis; it is separate from the decennial census. The American Community Survey is a long-form survey given to a select sample of households and therefore has a margin of error. If the margin of error is higher than the estimate itself, the estimate is not shown in the table. The five-year estimates, though not as temporally specific as one-year estimates, were chosen because they provide greater spatial accuracy.