LSCs support school reform
Despite ongoing concerns about waning interest in local school councils, a survey of 350 CPS principals shows that an overwhelming majority (83 percent) believe their LSCs contribute to school improvement.
Yet with a record number of schools on academic probation, which shifts powers to hire principals and approve spending of discretionary funds away from councils to central office, some fear LSCs are being systemically weakened.
Test scores drive instruction
In this new era of accountability, student performance on standardized tests is a top priority for principals whose schools face repercussions such as probation and restructuring.
Nearly three out of four principals surveyed say they used test scores “to a great extent” to set schoolwide goals for student achievement. Asked to rate tools they used to improve instruction—such as students grade point averages, student/teacher surveys, in-house tests and direct observation—standardized tests was No. 1 on the list.
|Principals who use standardized tests to:
|Set schoolwide achievement goals||73%|
|Examine trends in school performance||69%|
|Set goals for individual student achievement||54%|
|Examine trends in teachers’performance||46%|
|Compare their school to other schools||29%|
|Compare grades and classrooms||25%|
Compare performance of groups of students by race, gender or special education
| Principals who rely on the following tools to improve instruction:
|Standardized test scores||77%|
|Direct observation of classrooms (not walkthroughs)||67%|
|Other formal assessments||37%|
|Rubric-based scoring of student work.||37%|
|Teacher-made tests and other informal assessments||28%|
|Percentage of graduates who qualify for high-performing high schools or selective colleges||25%|
|Letter grades or GPAs||20%|
|Other surveys of students, teachers or parents||14%|
Source: Consortium on Chicago School Research