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Standardized Testing

Purpose and Context

We take a pragmatic approach to standardized testing at Catherine Cook. Standardized tests are an important part of the high school admissions process, so we make sure that our students are prepared to show what they know and to approach taking these tests strategically and with confidence. Test-taking skills are also life skills, as tests can be an important factor in creating future options in school and in life.

Doing well in our challenging Middle School curriculum is the best preparation for building the skills and knowledge needed to perform well on standardized tests. We also target specific instruction each year toward building test-taking skills.

Test Information for 2019-2020

Many Catherine Cook 8th Graders wish to have Chicago Public School (CPS) Selective Enrollment High Schools as an important high school option. Prior to 2013-2014, CPS allowed non-public schools to administer their own choice of standardized test in their own school setting during 7th Grade. Catherine Cook has historically administered the Stanford 10 test to 5th, 6th, and 7th Grade students to use as their qualifying exam. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, CPS began requiring 7th or 8th Grade applicants to take the same qualifying exam as CPS students, the NWEA MAP test, at a CPS site.

To prepare students for this test and format, Catherine Cook administers the NWEA MAP Test to 6th and 7th Grade students. Catherine Cook will continue to administer the Stanford Achievement Test to 5th, 6th, and 7th Grade students. 

The public high school landscape in Chicago is dynamic. CPS regularly reviews the requirements for Selective Enrollment High Schools and frequently makes changes without advance notice. Catherine Cook stays in communication with CPS and other independent schools to remain aware of relevant changes as soon as they are made public. We adjust our practices as needed to make sure our students are as well-prepared as possible.