Westside Parent Leader Speaks to Chalkbeat About New CPS Policy on Holding Back Students

Two young girls stand in front of a whiteboard and write on separate worksheets

“Lisa Russell, the mother of four Chicago Public Schools graduates and a West Side parent advocate with the nonprofit Community Organizing and Family Issues, said a classmate of her youngest son had to repeat the eighth grade shortly before the pandemic hit. 

The girl had received good grades and only found out she was behind academically when she did not attain the required score on the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, the standardized test used in promotion decisions, Russell said. She added it can be deeply embarrassing to be back in an eighth grade classroom with younger students.

‘That put her in a shell where she really wasn’t learning any more,’ Russell said.

Russell worked with students with disabilities before she retired and said in her experience retention did not help students who were in some cases multiple grade levels behind by the time they were required to repeat a grade. She is glad the district is considering no longer using test scores to retain students.”

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