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Chicago SAT averages fall short of cutoff for main campuses of University of Illinois

Chicago Public School juniors scored an average of 951 on the SAT this past spring, lower than the minimum score needed to gain acceptance to the two main campuses of the University of Illinois system.

To see your school’s average score, use the sortable database below.

Citywide, one in four students posted a score on math and reading that signals they are ready for college, according to Illinois state standards.

The Illinois standards are higher than the college readiness scores set by the College Board, which administers the SAT. By that measure, slightly more than one in three students, or 35 percent, are ready for college.

The SAT data was the rare blemish in a flurry of sunny metrics highlighted in front of the Board of Education Wednesday — a presentation that included graduation rates and college enrollment, numbers the district recently has celebrated with press conferences at schools.

To improve outcomes, Chicago plans to enroll 40 percent of high school juniors in six hours or more of free, personalized SAT practice through the online platform Khan Academy, according to the presentation by Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade.

Compared with the spring of 2017, Chicago scores were generally flat, with a slight dip in the percentage of students who met or exceeded state standards on the writing and reading portion of the test.

The 2017-18 school year was the first time that Illinois administered the PSAT, the preliminary test given to freshmen and sophomores to prepare for the SAT, though Chicago schools administered it in the 2016-17 school year. Data shows that around 44 percent of both ninth and 10th grade students in Chicago were ready according to the prep test.

SAT scores are increasingly important in the district as they have become the de facto indicators for how the district measures school quality. On Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education voted to amend its new school rating formula to lean in to the SAT and PSAT: It will include four new PSAT/SAT indicators, three of them tied to growth and one tied to the percentage of students making college readiness benchmarks on the tests.

Illinois sets its benchmark scores at 540 on English Language Arts and 540 on math. Comparatively, Chicago student scores averaged 478 in English and 474 in math.

The score requirements to be accepted to the University of Illinois at Chicago are between 1000 and 1430, depending on the program, while the average SAT score for undergraduate admission into the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is from 1270 to 1480.

Data by race

Black students saw slight dips in SAT performance across the board, with the average composite score decreasing slightly from 896 to 886. The percent of black students meeting college-readiness benchmarks fell from 22.7 percent to 20.8 percent. The percent of black students meeting or exceeding reading and writing standards fell from 17.6 percent to 14 percent. Math was flat.

Black boys and black girls both saw declines, but sorting the data by gender showed that black girls generally outperform black boys on the test.

Hispanic students’ growth was a mixed bag. Average composite scores were generally flat, at 950. The percent of Hispanic test takers meeting college-readiness benchmarks increased 1 percentage point, to 36.1 percent, while the percent meeting state math standards jumped slightly from 23.4 percent to 25.1 percent.

White students are still vastly outperforming their black and Hispanic peers, with an average composite score of 1132, which is the same as last year. But the percent meeting or exceeding reading and writing standards decreased from 64.8 percent to 61 percent; the percent meeting math standards decreased from 58.2 percent to 56.9 percent. Average reading and writing scores fell from 573 to 570, and average math scores increased from 559 to 561.

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