By Ella Schaffer, Staff Writer
This year, the NWEA MAP exam will not be used for any CPS school admission. The CPS High School Admissions Test will become the only admissions exam used for the determination of admission into various CPS schools. Testing for CPS students is to be held on November 9th while non-CPS students have 4 dates to choose from to take the test in the month of November.
A similar trend in abolishing standardized tests has been seen in colleges. For instance, several universities and colleges, including Ivy Leagues, have gone test-optional which allows students to apply without submitting their SAT and ACT scores. Other schools don’t even give students the option to submit SAT or ACT scores.
According to go.cps.edu, “Using one test will streamline the GoCPS [application submission platform commissioned by CPS in 2017] application process by decreasing the number of exams required, and allowing the same single exam to be applied to the selection processes for all programs, where applicable.”
Some prospective selective enrollment students are concerned about how the new admissions system will work now that the MAP test is gone. An anonymous seventh-grade student says “I believe that getting rid of the MAP test decreases the pressure felt on students, but it does make things confusing. I’ve been taking the map MAP for several years at school; I’ve gotten used to expecting to take it for high school admissions.”
There are currently 11 selective enrollment CPS high schools in Chicago. Jones College Preparatory School, Lane Tech College Preparatory High School, Northside College Preparatory High School, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, and Walter Payton College Preparatory High School are the most competitive high schools to get into; each school takes students with top-scoring test scores.
Despite the changes to the admissions process students will still be placed into tiers ranging from 1 to 4 depending on where they live. In certain years, tier 4 students would need 894 out of 900 points ( 99%) on their cumulative applications to qualify for Walter Payton College Prep. These tiers are dependent on several factors including median income, percentage of single-parent homes, and achievement scores in the area where a student lives. The tier system was created and used to make the application process for all students more equitable as research studies conducted by CPS showed that children that came from wealthier neighborhoods were more likely to go to a selective enrollment school than other children.
The abolishment of the Map testing will still mean that selective enrollment schools will remain difficult to get into. Some claim that the high school application process is too competitive. The competitiveness of certain schools put stress on 7th graders, 8th graders, and their parents. Less than 33.33% of students get into various selective-enrollment high schools each year. Each year there are around 16,500 applicants for selective-enrollment high schools. Of those 16,500 students 4,800 students get into a selective enrollment school (not all 4,800 decide to attend.) Only 14 percent of selective-enrollment applicants (around 672 students) get into their top choice.
Although there are many concerns in this process, of the students that get into selective enrollment schools 81 percent get into their first, second or third choice.