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Chicago Public Schools


Challenge: To make a successful transition to college, many young people in the Chicago school system face hurdles unimaginable in the nearby suburbs. The Chicago Public School system (CPS) wanted to increase the college readiness of the city's students. Their goal was to increase the number of students who take a rigorous curriculum and set their sights on getting into the most challenging college for which they are qualified. The CPS also wanted to improve high school graduation rates and college attendance rates, and to provide a basis for curricular interventions to improve student performance.

Solution: Beginning in 2002, the CPS instituted citywide administrations of EXPLORE® and PLAN® to help all Chicago public school students start thinking and planning for higher education and to prepare them for statewide administration of the PSAE.


  • The number of Chicago students taking the ACT® test has continued to grow each year, representing opportunity for more students.
  • Student performance on the PSAE and the ACT is improving.
  • Most students are planning to continue their education after high school.
  • More students took the right number of core courses in 2004 compared to 2002.

Print the full report: Setting Students' Sights on College: Chicago Public Schools
(PDF; 158KB, 3 pages)