All students in Archdiocese of Chicago Elementary Schools take TerraNova Standardized Tests, developed by CTB/ McGraw Hill, in the spring of their 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade years.
Millions of other students across the country take the same tests and, by comparing their scores, a national norm is established, which indicates the progress that students at different grade levels are making. This national norm is set at 50. So scores above 50 indicate that students are progressing more rapidly than the norm; scores below 50, that they are progressing less rapidly. A score that is 7 or more points higher than the norm shows a significant difference in progress.
This chart shows the average scores for students who entered 1st grade in Catholic schools in 2005. Over the next five years (during 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade), the same students were tested and tracked to determine how well they were doing at each grade level, but also to understand what the cummulative effect of attending Catholic school might be. Their scores indicate that the students progressed at a significantly higher rate than the norm of all schools, and that their scores generally continued to increase as they moved through the grades. Individual schools have their own scores and can share them with families who are interested.
Families often ask us why we donʼt use the same tests as the public schools in Illinois. They would like to be able to see test scores as an apples-to-apples comparison. We would like that as well and we have asked the Illinois State Board of Education to allow us to take the same tests they administer to public school students. So far, they have refused to let us do so. But we will continue to work toward that goal.