Top of Page

Chicago Public Schools’ Students Achieve Highest-Ever Reading and Math Scores on National Exam

27 August 2019

CPS Elementary School Students Continue to Outscore National Peers While Improving 16 Percentage Points in Reading Since 2013

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Janice K. Jackson announced today that a higher percentage of elementary CPS students are meeting or exceeding standards in reading and math than ever before. Based on data from the Northwest Evaluation Association’s (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) 2018-19 assessment, which measures the academic achievement of students across the country, a majority of CPS students are not only showing strong performance, but also equaling or exceeding the growth of their peers nationwide.

“Chicago students continue to exceed expectations with their academic progress,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As we embark on a new school year, we know the significant role our teachers, principals and support staff play in driving academic growth and success amongst our students.”

During the 2018-19 school year, a record 61.8 percent of students met or exceeded the national average in reading, and a record 56.7 percent met or exceeded the national average in math. NWEA data also show that CPS eighth graders are building a strong academic foundation that prepares them for high school, with 74.6 percent of eighth grade students meeting or exceeding the national attainment average in reading, and 64.5 percent in math. Since 2013, the percentage of CPS students meeting or exceeding national attainment averages has increased by over 16 percentage points in reading and nearly 12 percentage points in math.

“As the district prioritizes investments in schools across the city, CPS students are once again reaching new academic heights and showcasing their vast potential,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “By expanding academic programs, creating a more rigorous and inclusive curriculum, and prioritizing equity, we are working to support continued student achievement and ensure every CPS student has access to the high-quality education they deserve.”

In addition to out-performing national attainment averages in reading and math, CPS students also continue to exceed national growth averages. This year, 60.8 percent of students met or exceeded national growth averages in reading, and 56.2 percent of students met or exceeded national growth averages in math.

“Our students’ continued academic success is a testament to the hard work of thousands of teachers, principals and support staff who have made an impact on the lives of their students,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade. “The district will continue to take a targeted approach in supporting students and educators to ensure that every student has the tools they need to grow academically.”

To continue to build upon these impressive accomplishments, the district has committed to equitably expand the programs and resources that are helping students in every neighborhood across Chicago succeed. Key initiatives include:

  • Curriculum Equity Initiative: The Curriculum Equity Initiative will create a standards-aligned, culturally relevant library of teacher resources to ensure that students in every part of Chicago can benefit from a high-quality curriculum and instructional resources.
  • Largest-Ever Program Expansion: To build on the record-setting academic progress being made in Chicago schools, the district awarded new academic programs to benefit nearly 17,000 CPS students at 32 schools across the city as part of the largest-ever program expansion in district schools.
  • Targeted Math Support: This upcoming school year, the district’s math department will provide targeted support, including professional learning opportunities for math teachers, to improve math outcomes for priority student groups.

In order to ensure the city’s youngest students have an academic foundation that sets them up for success, the district has a goal to provide free, full-day pre-k to all four-year-olds in Chicago by 2021. CPS will invest $120 million to fund classroom conversions at over 100 schools and classroom expansions at schools in 28 high-needs communities. An analysis conducted by CPS shows that students who attended CPS-funded pre-k programs had higher GPAs, better attendance, and higher NWEA test scores than their peers who had not attended pre-k at all prior to kindergarten.

The full 2019 NWEA data set can be found at

Chicago Public Schools serves 361,000 students in 644 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.