The report notes where the progress in educational attainment has been uneven, with many CPS graduates still struggling to meet their aspirations and complete a post-secondary degree or certificate. In particular, critical gaps in attainment remain between young men and young women in CPS; among students with different race/ethnicity; and among students with disabilities.

The UChicago Consortium and the To&Through Project's annual analysis of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students’ progress on key attainment milestones gives Chicago’s education stakeholders a high-level view of how the district performed on these milestones in 2017, compared to rates from the past decade.

Central to this analysis is the Bachelor’s Degree Attainment Index (DAI), which estimates how likely current CPS ninth-graders are to obtain a college degree within 10 years of beginning high school. The current analysis finds that the percent of CPS ninth-graders projected to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of high school graduation has more than doubled over the last decade, from 9 percent in 2006 to 19 percent in 2017.

The report also provides updated numbers on the milestones that matter for high school completion and college degree attainment:

  • 75 percent of CPS students graduated from high school in 2017, up from 57 percent in 2006;
  • Two-thirds of CPS graduates immediately enrolled in either a two- or four-year college in 2016, up from 50 percent in 2006; and
  • CPS’s four-year college graduation rate has remained relatively steady, hovering near 50 percent since 2003.

Attainment gaps by race and gender persist:

  • Ten percent of Black young men and 13 percent of Latino young men who were ninth graders in 2017 are projected to earn a bachelor’s degree within 10 years, compared to the district average of 19 percent.

These findings reflect recent upward trends in high school graduation, college enrollment, and college graduation. The district’s improvements point to the importance of small year-to-year increases in key milestones. Although this slow-but-steady growth may not appear transformational in any given year, over the course of a decade, these small improvements have yielded significantly more CPS students reaching critical milestones. In particular, increases in both the high school graduation rate and the college enrollment rate mean that approximately 5,000 more students are enrolling directly in college today than did 10 years ago.