CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools today announced that 46.6 percent of 2018 graduates earned early college and career credentials, which help make college more accessible and affordable for students. As CPS works to increase access to college-level coursework in all schools, the data released today shows year-over-year gains for all racial subgroups. Mayor Emanuel has set an ambitious goal of ensuring at least 50 percent of all CPS graduates finish high school with early college and career credentials by 2019, and the data released today shows credential attainment surging upward by 50 percent since 2014, when 31.2 percent of students earned credentials. This year, 10,820 graduates from the Class of 2018 earned ECCC.
"Chicago's students are working hard, breaking records and getting a head start on the path to success," said Mayor Emanuel. "A record number of CPS students earning college and career credentials in high school means more students are prepared and positioned to accomplish great things after they earn their diploma.”
Credential attainment jumped 3.2 percentage points this year, with significant growth at Early College STEM schools, where early college and career attainment has increased by 10.1 percentage points. Last year, the district announced that three CPS high schools would become Early College STEM Schools – providing 2,000 additional students with access to a 21st century STEM curriculum, and providing more opportunities for students to earn college credit and work toward an associate degree while still in high school.
At several CPS schools - neighborhood, charter, selective enrollment, and military – more than 90 percent of graduates earned credentials. These schools included Devry, Walter Payton, Phoenix Military, Prosser, Instituto Health, Legal Prep, Jones, Kenwood, and Marine Leadership. In 2018, 50 high schools had 50 percent or more of their students graduate with ECCC – an increase of 10 schools from the 2016-2017 school year, and more than double the number of high schools since 2014.
"Every year, our students earn more college and career credentials, proving that high school graduation is not the goal but rather a stepping stone to success at the college or career of their choice," said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. "By increasing opportunities for our students to take IB, CTE, AP, and other rigorous coursework, students are gaining a head-start on their postsecondary education and gaining the confidence and skills they need to succeed after high school.”
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.
In 2018, CPS also began to recognize the State Seal of Bilteracy as an Early College and Career Credential. The State Seal of Biliteracy is a rigorous recognition that requires students to demonstrate language proficiency in English and another language by earning a 4 or higher on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam or other ISBE-approved assessments. The State Seal of Bilteracy was established by Illinois state law in 2014. After a student earns the Seal, it becomes part of their transcript or diploma and it certifies their bilteracy and accomplishments for future employers and education institutions.
“Chicago public high schools have long had college-ready students in their classrooms but today we are meeting these students where they are,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado. “Early College programs are helping Chicago students accelerate their path to a college degree or certificate, saving them time and money, and proving to themselves and others that they can succeed in college.”
CPS students earned credits through the following course options:
AP: 5,640 students at a total of 107 CPS high schools earned credits.
International Baccalaureate (IB): 1,442 students earned credits on IB exams, which is more than double the number of students who graduated with credit in 2014. As home to the largest network of IB schools in the nation, CPS has increased enrollment in IB programs 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): 1,550 students earned an industry certification, which offers industry-focused technical programs that prepare students for future career opportunities.
Dual Credit: 2,956 students earned college credit through a dual credit course.
Dual Enrollment: 1,644 students earned college credit through a dual enrollment course.
JROTC: 999 students earned a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps credential.
Seal of Biliteracy: 1,984 students earned the State Seal of Biliteracy.
This metric is calculated based on whether or not a graduate has earned ECCC. If a graduate earned more than one credit category, they are only counted once. For example, many students earned the State Seal of Bilteracy by taking an AP course and earning a 4 or higher, but 139 unique students earned the State Seal of Biliteracy by passing the AP exam without taking a course, or by passing another ISBE-approved exam. Therefore, while nearly 2,000 graduates earned the State Seal of Biliteracy, 139 graduates were counted towards the metric – representing .6 of the total 46.6 percent of graduates earning credentials.
As district-wide credential attainment increases, growth can be seen among all student racial groups, with the proportion of African American students earning credentials increasing by 4.4 percentage points and Hispanic students increasing by 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, CPS students have been able to achieve record-breaking graduation and college enrollment rates as they are better prepared to succeed after high school than ever before.
Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
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