Research

The Educational Attainment of Chicago Public Schools Students: 2016

October, 2017
Authors: 
Jenny Nagaoka, Alex Seeskin, and Vanessa M. Coca

The University of Chicago Consortium on School Research and the To&Through Project's annual look at Chicago Public Schools students' likelihood of obtaining a college degree within 10 years of beginning high school finds that 18 percent of 2016 ninth-graders are projected to earn a bachelor's degree within six years of high school graduation, a number that has held steady since 2015.

The report also finds high school graduation and two- and four-year college enrollment have increased over the last 10 years. Four-year college graduation has remained fairly flat since 2009 and persistence rates for CPS students at four-year colleges has been declining since 2011.

Across race and gender, CPS students have had increases on important educational milestones, however, progress has been uneven. The gaps in CPS high school graduation rates by gender and race/ethnicity have narrowed since 2006, but remain large. Male and female graduates of all races/ethnicities enroll in two-year colleges at comparable rates, but the race/ethnicity and gender gap in four-year college enrollment has increased. Finally, for those students who enroll in a four-year college, Black and Latino students obtain bachelor's degrees at lower rates than White and Asian students. Eight percent of Black young men who were first-time freshmen in 2016 are projected to obtain a bachelor's degree, compared to 16 percent of Black young women.

For the first time, this report looks at achievement on key milestones, including six-year high school graduation and college enrollment, for students with identified disabilities. It finds, overall, graduation rates vary by disability category. Twenty-nine percent of students with behavioral disabilities graduated high school in 2015, a much lower rate than students with other disabilities.  Also in 2015, 68 percent of students with learning disabilities graduated high school in six years, a significant increase from 50 percent in 2006. Rates of six-year high school graduation for students with physical and cognitive disabilities remained relatively stable between 2006 and 2015. Across all disability categories, 2015 high school graduates were much more likely to enroll in college than 2006 high school graduates.

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