CPS Seeks Approval to Revise SQRP Category Names, Providing Further Clarity on School Quality 

Proposed Change to SQRP Tier Names Made Following Feedback From School Leaders and Stakeholders

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today it will ask the Board of Education to amend the School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) by changing the level titles to provide further clarity on the quality of CPS schools. If approved by the Board of Education at the November Board Meeting on Nov. 19, 2014, CPS will revise the SQRP Tier names to Level 1+, Level 1, Level 2+, Level 2 and Level 3, following feedback from school leaders and stakeholders. CPS is currently reviewing SQRP data and intends to release new school rankings under the District’s new, comprehensive rating system in the coming weeks.

“The SQRP was designed to empower families to make informed choices about public schools throughout Chicago, and the revisions will provide families with a better indication of the quality of our schools,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We look forward to rolling out SQRP ratings in the coming weeks so that students, families, teachers and principals can take advantage of the most comprehensive school evaluation system we have ever used.”

As part of the ongoing evaluation of the SQRP process, CPS received feedback from school leaders and community stakeholders suggesting that revising SQRP Tier names could provide a more helpful indicator of school quality. In prior years, CPS used a system that ranked schools in Tiers 1-3, and it is believed that the proposed change would provide a more useful comparison to the rating system Chicago families have seen in previous years. The proposed change will only affect the names of SQRP Tiers and will not impact the achievement metrics that have already been established and approved by the Board of Education. 

In addition, CPS is asking to allow district operated schools that are rated Level 1+ or Level 1 to keep a rating of Level 1 if the school experienced conditions or an event that had a significant impact.  In making the determination, the CEO will consider factors such as the following:

  • a significant change in student population, exclusive of students in new or entry-level grades
  • a significant change of the school’s teaching staff as compared to the prior year
  • a change of principal
  • a significant change in the school’s academic program
  • any other event that had a significant impact

This rating will only be applied for one year. 

“Schools that experienced a significant change that may have contributed to a lower rating deserve a full school year to recover without an impact to their rating.  By giving schools a one-year reprieve, we are recognizing the effect of the change on students, teachers and leadership without unfairly burdening the school with the additional requirements of a lower level school,” said Byrd-Bennett.

In August 2013, the Chicago Board of Education approved the use of the SQRP beginning in School Year 2014-15 to provide a highly detailed assessment of district schools. After using a Performance Policy that placed schools into one of three rating levels, CPS changed to SQRP, which places schools into one of five rating levels, utilizes performance benchmarks tied to national standards and uses metrics better aligned to the District’s strategic plan, including college enrollment and persistence. 

Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.