Closing system

CPS to scrap grades from schools and replace them with a less ‘punitive’ system

Chicago public school officials are set to scrap their controversial campus rating system known as SQRP as they develop a new method of “school accountability” without awarding “punitive” and comparative grades.

The change will be welcomed by the many teachers and advocates who fought to get rid of SQRP, which stands for School Quality Rating Policy. Those who opposed the system likened a bad grade to a scarlet letter to criticize schools – and was used as a reason to close them – for factors beyond students’ control.

While a replacement has yet to be created or publicly detailed, the Board of Education is expected to vote Wednesday on the parameters by which it wants district leaders to establish a new system — including one that takes into account the existing and required resources and conditions of each school for the academic success of students.

SQRP scores, which have not been updated since the start of the pandemic, placed schools on a scale, ranging from Tier 1-plus for the best performing schools to Tier 3 for those most in need. support to improve. These grades were calculated using student test scores, academic growth, narrowing achievement gaps, school culture and climate, attendance, degree and preparation for post-graduation success. The first grades under the SQRP were issued for the 2014-2015 school year, based on data from the previous year.

Critics, and more recently school board members, have explained that these school assessments may appear to measure objective measures, but there are important community and student difficulty variables that affect data such as test scores and attendance figures from one school to another, from one neighborhood to another. piece.

In its resolution for a new accountability system, the board said the new version should recognize that societal systems play a critical role in children’s lives, and “how students interact with these systems and structures differs depending on the identity and life circumstances of students, both of which may affect their performance in school.

The school board called for “reinventing an approach to accountability that is non-punitive, better informed of stakeholder needs and feedback, and better aligned with the core work of schools – teaching and learning – and reflective community values”. The district has held community meetings for the past two years to hear thoughts on how the system might change.

The board said CPS should include establishing a framework for what a high-quality CPS education should look like, and the resources and vision needed to achieve this, the board said. Once this is clearly defined, the replacement SQRP should explain the resources each school has available to achieve the goal of a high quality education.

The new system should go “beyond the sole focus on school-level outputs and outcomes and add greater consideration and accountability for inputs such as overall resources (e.g. school funding) and conditions (e.g. professional services and student learning environments) that impact a high quality educational experience in schools,” the board said. Responsibility should be redirected to the district rather than to individual schools.

“This change should not be interpreted as a reduction in accountability at the school level; rather, the approach to accountability should reflect the fact that schools do not exist in isolation and that many extracurricular factors influence schools and student learning.

State law requires districts to disclose a school’s status from labels such as “good standing,” “remediation,” or “probation,” but the CPS will no longer rank schools using Tier 1s. , 2 or 3. And school closures will no longer be based solely on these rankings.

If the resolution passes, the board will ask CPS CEO Pedro Martinez and his administration to create a new policy in time for the 2023-24 school year and reevaluate the system every three years for improvements.