Flunk, retain, drop out

Soon scores from a small portion of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) will come back.

  • The booklet sent out with ISAT says “No person or organization shall make a decision about a student or educator on the basis of a single test.” (1)
  • Despite this, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) trusts this test to override our own teachers in deciding the future of our children.
  • For third, sixth and eighth graders, our promotion policy automatically flunks at least one in four children based on a thirty or forty question test. (2)
  • At the end of summer school, CPS is five times more likely to retain a child for the next year if they are African-American than if they are white. (3)
  • By retaining a student, CPS increases that child’s chance of dropping out by 29%. (4)
  • Chicago Public Schools spends $100 million dollars every year on this policy. (5)
  • Extensive research shows that it DOES NOT WORK. Repeating a grade does not help children succeed. (4)

Why do we continue to threaten eight-year-olds and tell third-graders they are failures? Why do we make students cry, throw-up, and finally quit?

Chicago Public Schools should use the $100 million it spends every year on holding back kids to instead provide what students really need: caring professionals with the time and resources to find out what works for each of them. Our children need advocates, not inflexible policies spit out of a machine.

CPS should stop using standardized test scores to override all other considerations in making student grade promotion decisions. I encourage anyone who agrees to sign the petition. And I encourage other parents to contact Parents United for Responsible Education if your child is forced to go to summer school.

  1. 2009 ISBE ISAT Professional Testing Practices for Educators booklet

  2. CPS policy sends any student below the 24th percentile to summer school.

  3. http://pureparents.org/data/files/retentionreport09.pdf

  4. http://www.fairtest.org/chicago-research-criticizes-retention-test-driven-improvement

  5. $10,000 per student per year times approximately 10,000 students retained