A new set of reports co-written by the Consortium on Chicago School research suggests that performance won’t improve at CPS high schools until administrators and teachers find ways to drastically improve attendance.
The set of five reports analyzed surveys, observations from dozens of classrooms, attendance records, test scores and interviews with hundreds of teachers, administrators and students to arrive at its conclusions.
The consortium, working with SRI, a consulting firm, looked at AMPS, IDS and Renaissance 2010 high schools. The three efforts, all started in the last few years, take slightly different approaches to improve high school education.
The reports provide a first look at how effective those efforts are, but Sue Sporte, an associate director at the Consortium on Chicago School Research, cautions that it may be too soon to tell how well the reforms are working.
“That reform spent most of its energy at the beginning focusing its effort on teachers and curriculum and thinking that that could do it all,” Sporte says. “That if the curriculum were enticing and exciting, kids would come to school and be engaged. And it hasn’t been enough in most schools to radically change their attendance behavior and their tardy behavior.”
CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond did not return calls for comment.
The comprehensive critique in the reports suggests that teachers need more support to help them develop better teaching styles.
“Teachers seem to struggle with the things ... that make tests scores go up,” Sporte says. “Asking demanding questions. Giving challenging homework.”