Mary Ann Ahern

Chicago Archdiocese Announces Revision to High School Testing

The Chicago Archdiocese is announcing a major revision to its high school testing program, however there are concerns the changes did not go far enough.

The testing date has been moved up from January to December to offer more time for families to consider a Catholic High School. Part of the reason for the adjustment is to get ahead of the Chicago Public Schools Selective Enrollment testing process. By notifying students if they're accepted to a Catholic school in January, that will be at least a month before CPS notifies students.

Also, for the first time, high schools will post information on their high school websites about financial aid ranges and allow families to calculate the amount they may qualify for.

Some Catholic school leaders also advocated for the Archdiocese to allow students to list three choices, ranking them as first, second and third. That is similar to what happens for those applying for CPS Selective enrollment schools. The Archdiocese did not agree to that option, however.

Several sources believe the Archdiocese may be missing an opportunity to recruit students to other schools. For example, 1,000 students apply for 350 incoming freshman slots at St. Ignatius College Prep. Of the 650 who are not accepted, only 17 percent of those attend a Catholic high school.

"We want the process to be more family centered," John Chandler, vice president of St. Ignatius, said. "We really look forward to a day when students take the test at any Catholic school and are able to have three choices."

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