Get Ready! 7th grade testing is coming
Now is a great time to begin making plans for the high school selection process. As you know, 7th grade is an important time for those of you with children who are planning to apply to selective high schools. The upcoming 7th grade standardized testing is crucial to your child’s success as an applicant.
CPS selective enrollment, International Baccalaureate, and magnet high schools each use scores from tests like the ISAT (given at CPS elementary schools) or the Terra Nova, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, or Stanford 10 (given at many independent and religious elementary schools) to qualify students to apply. Generally students must score at least a stanine of 5 in both reading and math just to enter the application pool. Some programs, like Von Steuben Scholars, require scores of 7 in reading, math, and science. However, because selective enrollment high schools like Walter Payton and Jones College Prep also use the 7th grade standardized test scores as one third of their 900 point scoring system, a 5, or 50th percentile ranking, will not be a strong enough to gain admission. In fact, depending on your tier, your child will likely need to score in the high 90s in order to be accepted at the most competitve schools.
CPS has a useful point calculation tool that better illustrates this point: Student A, from tier 4, has straight A’s, but scores in the 90th percentile in both reading and math. Her score would be 573 (300 for her grades, 273 for her test scores) going into the selective enrollment exam. Using last year’s cutoff scores, she would already be disqualified from Northside, Payton, Jones, and Young.
Depending on your child’s school, standardized testing could take place any time between early March through April. Now is the time to begin preparing! Even more importantly, CPS is now making a concerted effort to close a score reporting loophole in the application process that many non-CPS parents have used in the past in which students take more than one standardized test. Next year, multiple testing will very likely raise a red flag on your child’s application, making the 7th grade test all the more high stakes. If you feel strongly that your child is not ready to be tested, you may want to inquire with his or her school about opting out in favor of taking part in CPS Limited Fall Testing next year. For more information about this, please contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.493.4983.
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