More CPS Students Earn College and Career Credentials Than Ever Before 

43.4 Percent of 2017 Graduates Earned At Least One Early College and Career Credential; Number of Neighborhood School Students Earning Credits Grew 3.9 Percentage Points in One Year
Monday, September 11, 2017      

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CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620

CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools today announced that 43.4 percent of 2017 graduates earned early college and career credentials, which help make college more accessible and affordable for students. Credential attainment has surged upward by 39.1 percent since 2014, moving the district closer to Mayor Emanuel’s goal of at least 50 percent of all CPS graduates attaining these credentials by 2019.

“A record number of students across the city are earning college credentials while still in high school, proving once again their commitment to pursuing higher education,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “As we work towards a future where every CPS student has a plan for postsecondary success, we will continue to make investments to ensure that the cost of college is not an obstacle to receiving a degree.”

Credential attainment jumped 2.8 percentage points this year, and students made gains across all school types, with significant growth at neighborhood schools, where early college and career attainment has increased by 3.9 percentage points. 

“Every student in Chicago has the ability to succeed far beyond our doors, and providing students with access to early college and career programming will help them reach their vast potential,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “We will continue to support the expansion of programming that allows students to access college-level curriculum, and we have no doubt that our students will rise to the challenge.”
Students are able to earn early college and career credentials by achieving passing scores on Advanced Placement (3 or above) or International Baccalaureate tests (4 or above), or by earning an industry certification in Career and Technical Education, college credit in Dual Credit or Dual Enrollment courses, or a program credential in JROTC. CPS students earned credits through the following course options:
  • Advanced Placement (AP): 5,433 students at a total of 112 CPS high schools earned credits.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 1,385 students earned credits on IB exams, which is nearly double the number of students who earned credit in 2014.
    • As home to the largest network of IB schools in the nation, CPS has increased enrollment in IB programs by 370 percent over the past five years, with IB participation in high schools quadrupling. Participation will continue to grow as some schools are in the process of expanding access to IB programming.
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE): 1,395 students earned an industry certification, which offers industry-focused technical programs that prepare students for future career opportunities.
  • Dual Credit: 2,328 students earned college credit through a dual credit course.
  • Dual Enrollment: 1,531 students earned college credit through a dual enrollment course.
  • JROTC: 864 students earned a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps credential.
“The growing levels of college and career credential attainment among all student groups shows that our students are focused on a bright future beyond high school,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K Jackson. “As long as we continue to provide our students with the right resources and supports, our students will continue to set new standards for excellence.” 
As district-wide credential attainment increases, growth can be seen among all student subgroups, with the number of African American students increasing by 1.6 percentage points and Hispanic students increasing by 2.2 percentage points over the previous year.

By increasing opportunities for students to participate in programs including AP, IB, dual credit and dual enrollment, and investing in evidence-based resources and supports, including expanded social and emotional learning resources, CPS students have been able to attain record-high graduation rates (77.5 percent), freshman-on-track rates (88.7 percent) and more scholarship offers than ever before ($1.24 billion).

Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.  

Page Last Modified on Monday, September 11, 2017