Surveyors for The Chicago Valedictorian Project interviewed 60 valedictorians from Chicago’s public schools who graduated in 1990, 1995 and 2000 to gauge how well they thought their schools prepared them for college and beyond. By 2000, the survey revealed, the high schools had improved in some areas and declined in others.Below is an analysis of the portion of the survey conducted by the Public Policy Practicum at the University of Chicago in conjunction with The Chicago Reporter, CATALYST: Voices of Chicago School Reform, and WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago Public Radio.

1. Number of times valedictorians met with guidance counselors:

Average number, 1990 and 1995: 2.1

Average number, 2000: 3.5

2. Valedictorians’ ratings of how well their high schools prepared them in math and science – on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “didn’t prepare you at all.”

Average number, 1990 and 1995: 3.6

Average number, 2000: 3.8

3. Number of valedictorians who went out of state for college:

1990 and 1995: 7

2000: 5

4. Average American College Test scores:

1990 and 1995: 24.4

2000: 24.2

5. Number of valedictorians who planned to pursue doctorate degrees:

1990 and 1995: 9

2000: 9

Source: Chicago Valedictorian Survey; analyzed by The Chicago Reporter