Illinois made a major switch last spring to a new exam for all high school juniors, dropping the ACT in favor of the SAT college entrance exam. On Wednesday, Chicago Public Schools offered a first glance at the results.
CPS officials worried scores might drop with the introduction of the new test, but CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said at Wednesday’s monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting that she was “pleasantly surprised” by the results.
Chicago’s average SAT scores are roughly equivalent to ACT results from last year. CPS’ combined math and reading average is 967 out of 1600 points. That equates to a 18 out of 36 on the ACT, according to concordance tables created by the College Board, which administers the ACT. CPS’ average ACT score was 18.4 last year, slightly higher than the SAT equivalent.
But CPS’ numbers still lag behind state and national averages. The Illinois SAT average is 1018, two points behind the national average. And only about 38 percent of CPS juniors this year scored high enough on the SAT to be considered minimally qualified for college. The College Board says students reaching this threshold have a 75 percent chance of earning at least Cs in college.
CPS’ goal is for at least 50 percent of students to hit that standard, according to Liz Kirby, CPS’ chief of school strategy and planning.
The school district is expected to release school-by-school SAT results later this fall.
All Illinois high school juniors took the SAT college entrance exam for the first time this spring after more than a decade of taking the ACT exam.