Research at the University of Chicago has shown that ninth-grade performance predicts graduation rates better than any other information available. The Consortium on School Research, at the University of Chicago, developed the “Freshman-On-Track” metric to measure a schools’ success by using student evidence-based research data to keep students on track for graduation.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given upwards of $95 million to networks that support such measurable efforts and one such network, Chicago’s Network For Success, which helps 17 high schools, received a $11.7 million grant. Bill Gates wrote in his recent blog post that “Chicago was once called the worst school district in the United States. Today, though, high school graduation rates there are rising, as are ACT scores, GPAs, and the number of students enrolled in AP courses. And gains in elementary test scores outpace national averages.” The students I met at North-Grand during my visit liked the fact that there was no mystery about their standing in their classes. As one senior, Yusef, told me, thanks to this data he is “seeing himself clearly” in ways he couldn’t before.”