Byrd Bennett announces that CPS intends to 'reduce excessive testing'

In a press release embargoed until 12:01 a.m. on August 7, 2013, Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd Bennett announced that CPS will be reducing the number of standardized tests required by the district. It remains unclear which tests will be un-mandated, however, since the press release seems to indicate that the decision on which tests to eliminated will be left up to local school "leadership teams." In typical fashion, Byrd Bennett has released the statement via email without holding a press conference so that reporters could ask questions for further details on this important story.



12:01 AM, August 7, 2013

CPS Reduces Number of District Required Student Tests as Part of New, Streamlined Assessment Policy

Parents, teachers, principals and other key stakeholders inform new CPS assessment policy aimed to increase student instructional time

CHICAGO – Guided by the input of parents, teachers, students and principals, Chicago Public School (CPS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced today the elimination of 15 District-mandated tests including elimination of fall standardized testing for all CPS grades as part of the District’s new, streamlined assessment policy. The new policy will provide school leaders and teachers with more autonomy in establishing assessments that help teachers develop instructional plans and align assessments with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to increase student learning time.

Since February, CPS has hosted 17 focus groups with principals, teachers, parents, education advocates and researchers to gather feedback on the new assessment policy while incorporating input from 450 teachers who responded to a CPS survey on how to best modify the District’s assessment policy.

“Our education partners across the District – students, parents, teachers, principals, education stakeholders and researchers – contributed directly to the creation of this sensible, new policy that puts children and their learning first,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “As a former teacher and principal, I felt that our parents and educators raised valid concerns around our testing policy, which is why we launched a rigorous analysis of that policy soon after I became CEO. This reflects their feedback and places a higher value on increased student learning time.”

The new assessment policy builds on the District’s April announcement of eliminating the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress for Primary Grades (MPG) assessment for kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students. Beginning in SY13-14, the annual assessment calendar will limit standardized District testing to the spring for grades two through eleven and offer schools flexibility to select interim measures to monitor progress.

Each school’s Instructional Leadership Teams—made up of teachers and school administrators—will be required to identify interim tests from either a District-provided menu of “school choice assessments” or alternate tests of their choice with the requirement that they are aligned to the CCSS, and engage students in activities that require critical thinking, writing and problem-solving.

The emphasis on CCSS in the new assessment policy mirrors state-level efforts to transition to these new, more rigorous academic standards. Starting next school year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will administer a fully CCSS-aligned Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) to students in grades three

Chicago Public Schools - Press Release Page 2 of 3

Office of Communications · 125 South Clark Street · Chicago, IL 60603 · (773) 553-1620 · FAX: (773) 553-1621

through eight. The new ISAT will begin to prepare Chicago students for the full transition to the CCSS, which

is scheduled for all grades starting in school year 2014-15.

A full list of District-required tests for 2013-2014 is below, followed by a list of the tests that will be eliminated

starting next school year.

Grades Assessment Required Administration



K-2 Schools are required to

monitor early literacy

progress with 1 tool. CPS

will support MPG and


can choose another tool.

Flexible windows to

accommodate individual

assessment: Aug-Oct,

Nov-Feb, May-June

Ensure schools have a

research-based and

comprehensive way to

monitor early literacy,

critical for ensuring

students don’t fall offtrack


2-8 Measures of Academic

Progress (MAP):

Common Core version

Spring: May Measure of whether

students are meeting

grade level learning and

year-to-year growth

expectations. Also a

factor in teacher, principal

and school evaluation.

3-8 IL Standards

Achievement Test (ISAT)

Early March Required by IL State

Board of Education

(ISBE) for all 3-8

students in IL.

9-10 EXPLORE-9, PLAN-10 Mid-May Measure of whether

students are meeting

grade level learning and

year-to-year growth

expectations. Also a

factor in teacher, principal

and school evaluation.

11 PSAE Late April Required by ISBE. ACT

growth is also a factor in

teacher, principal and

school evaluation.

7-12 Alternative School

Students only

STAR Sept, Jan, May Used in place of NWEA

or EPAS to measure

whether students in

Alternative Schools are

meeting grade level

learning and within year

growth expectations.

Also a factor in teacher,

principal and school


PK-12 REACH Performance October, May Measures baseline and

Chicago Public Schools - Press Release Page 3 of 3

Office of Communications · 125 South Clark Street · Chicago, IL 60603 · (773) 553-1620 · FAX: (773) 553-1621


growth information on activity-based skills not easily assessed with traditional multiple choice tests. Results used in teacher evaluation.

K-12 ELLs only



Required by ISBE. Measures English language development.

Eliminated required tests:

 MPG for K-2 (five tests)

 Fall MAP for 3-8 grade (six tests)

 EXPLORE for 8th grade (one test)

 Fall EPAS for 9-11 grade (three tests)

Total District-required tests eliminated: 15 tests

Chicago Public Schools has 403,000 students in 681 schools. It’s the nation’s third-largest school district.



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