State standards for 8th grade miss the mark for college

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Even as CPS officials celebrate record numbers of students meeting state standards on the ISAT, a new study indicates that only about one in 10 8th-graders has any chance of hitting the district’s target of 20 or higher on the ACT. A Consortium on Chicago School Research report released today finds that only those 8th-graders who exceed state standards are likely to score a 20 or higher. (The consensus among experts is that students must score at least 21 to be admitted to a selective college.) In the most recent round of testing, only 10.9 percent of 8th-graders exceeded standards; another 62.3 percent just met standards.

Further, the study finds that freshmen who score low on 9th-grade standardized tests rarely gain enough ground academically to score 20 on the ACT. Yet researchers note that the quality of academics and climate in a high school does matter. Students who earn high grades at strong schools see the biggest improvements, according to the study.