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Helpful Hints for Enrolling

Helpful Hints for Enrolling

The purpose of the CPS High School admission entrance examination or the Selective Enrollment entrance exam for elementary school is to match students to educational programs that meet their needs. It is important that all students are afforded the opportunity to demonstrate their true level of achievement and ability. Our goal is to mitigate the effect of disabilities, to the maximum extent possible. This enables a student with a disability to be assessed on equal footing as a non-disabled peer. We do this by providing accommodations as outlined in the student’s 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP).

What is an accommodation?

An accommodation is a change in the procedure for administering the assessment that reduces the effect of the disability to the maximum extent possible. For example, if the student’s IEP indicates that the student has a fine motor deficit and cannot fill in bubbles and requires that a scribe be provided to assist with the answer sheet, then we would provide for the transfer of information from the test booklet to the answer sheet through a scribe. This allows us to measure what the student knows and does not negatively impact the student’s score because the student cannot fill in the bubbles efficiently.

Accommodations do not change the kind of achievement or ability being measured, but they do change how the achievement or ability is measured. The accommodation reduces any problems the student might face in accessing the test content and allows the student to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities with the material.

Accommodations are decided during the IEP or 504 Plan meeting by the IEP team (comprised of various educators, parents, specialists, and pertinent stakeholders). A physician’s medical diagnosis, independent psychological evaluations, and reports from other specialists can be used by the IEP team to support the determination of a disability and whether accommodations are necessary. These reports, however, are not sufficient, in and of themselves, to determine if a student can receive accommodations. Rather, the student must have a current IEP or 504 Plan from a public school.

What you can do as a parent when applying for Selective Enrollment Schools: 

  1. When completing your child’s application, check yes to items that indicate your child has an IEP/504 Plan. This indication will in no way negatively impact your application. OAE encourages all parents to apply early.
  2. If your child attends a Chicago public school, charter school, or contract school, CPS will obtain his IEP or 504 Plan from the Student Information System. CPS can also access the IEPs/504 Plans of private/parochial school students who have had their IEP/504 Plans developed by the Chicago Public Schools.
  3. It is important that your child’s IEP or 504 Plan is current and lists the accommodations that are required for testing. If you are the parent of a young child, please ensure your IEP/504 team completes the section of the IEP that lists District/State Assessment Accommodations (located in Section 10 (c) of the IEP) and in Section 5(2) of the 504 Plan. Applicable accommodations listed in this section (District/State Assessment Accommodations Section 10 (c) – Testing Accommodations or 5. Accommodations and Modifications: Classroom/Testing for Section 504) are the accommodations that will be provided for selective enrollment testing. Below is a sample list of accommodations that you will want to discuss with your IEP/504 team to determine if these accommodations are needed to support your child during testing.

Examples of Accommodations

Extended Time: Some students may need to have time limits on some tests extended to reduce the effect of slow work rate on their test performance. Those who use magnifiers, those who have attention disorders, and those who need help with word identification or reading are examples.

Individual/Small Group Administration: Students may be tested in small groups or individually; there is no minimum group size requirement for test administration. Students who need extra breaks and those who might be distracted in a classroom-testing situation might benefit from being tested in this manner.

Large-Print Edition: Students with visual impairments may benefit from the use of a large-print version of the test.

Braille Edition: Students who use Braille materials regularly with their classroom instruction may benefit from testing with the Braille version of the tests.

Communication Assistance: A test administrator who is fluent in the signing or cueing methods used by the student may need to repeat directions or certain portions of a test administration to clarify procedures for the student. Signs conveying answers to test questions should not be used, and no portion of the reading comprehension or vocabulary tests should be cued in any way.

Repeated Directions: Directions may be read aloud as many times as necessary to inform students of the proper procedures to follow in responding.

Test Read Aloud: Students with reading disabilities might need to have portions of tests or some complete tests read to them so that their reading skill does not interfere with measuring their achievement. For vocabulary and reading comprehension tests, reading the test aloud would potentially threaten the validity of the assessment and is not a permissible accommodation for these specific sections.

Answers Recorded/Scribe: An assistant or proctor may record the answers of a student on the answer sheet if the student is unable to do so as a result of the student’s disability.

Transferred Answers/Scribe: Responses recorded in test booklets or those recorded by technologically assistive devices can be transferred to the student’s answer sheet in preparation for scoring.

Other: Accommodations noted in Section 10(c)of a student’s IEP or Section 5(2) in a student’s 504 Plan that are not included in the above list may also be used, as appropriate for the exam.

Eligibility Requirements at a Glance
Applicants to grades 7-8 to:
  • Academic Centers
Students must have a GPA minimum of 2.5
Applicants to grades 5-8 to:
  • Classical Schools
  • Regional Gifted Centers
  • Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners
Students must have a GPA minimum of 3.0
Applicants to 9th Grade Please see specific requirements by program

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Contact Info Office of Access & Enrollment


Chicago Public Schools
42 W. Madison St, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602

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