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Professional used ITBS scores to create Chicago retention program

MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2011 11:00 AM

When Paul Vallas, Philadelphia school district chief executive officer, came to the city, he brought much of the knowledge he formerly gained while working in Chicago, The Notebook reports. Many professionals believe that this means that the programs he adopted in Chicago will soon come to his new school district in Philadelphia.

For example, one of these programs involves using the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) to determine whether or not a student should be kept back. According to its website, the ITBS assesses children in kindergarten through the eighth grade on topics such as reading comprehension, mathematics and science.

In Chicago, students in the third, sixth and eighth grades take the ITBS in reading and math. Using the test results, Vallas created a program that forced students who did not reach a minimum score in either section to go to summer school. After this extra training, students took the ITBS again. If they did not pass the test a second time, they had to repeat their grade level, the news outlet reports.

According to the Chicago Public School District, their students' ITBS scores have been increasing since at least 1997.