By Esmeralda Arroyo ’17 and Marlene Betancourt ’17
This year, Pritzker placed top five percent of all (186) high schools in the city in regards to ACT scores.
On May 3, the class of 2017, Seniors, took the national ACT and had the opportunity to retake the ACT again on June 11, before the school year ended. As of Sept. 20, Pritzker is in the top five percent for highest ACT in Chicago. Pritzker is also the second highest in all the Noble Network Charter schools.
Pritzker’s average ACT score for the year 2016 is 21.9, ranking ten. UIC College Prep came close ahead with rank nine, but with an average ACT score of 22.2, by only three tenths of an ACT point.
The top scores in the city were received by eight selective enrollment schools: Payton, Northside, Whitney Young, Jones, Lane Tech, Lindblom, Brooks, and Lincoln Park, respectively.
At Pritzker, students are prepared for the ACT starting freshman year. The students are given an assessment. Pritzker has “intense interim assessments that we use to build college skills,” as explained Principal Pablo Sierra.
For preparation, the teachers also gather the data from the assessments and share information with other teachers in the Noble Network on how teachers go about preparing the students for the ACT. “I think the hope of all Noble leaders is that we can share practices with other schools who want to adopt similar methods and share our success.” said Director of College Counseling, Sarah Kruger.
After this year, students will be taking the SATs. The transition from taking the ACT to the SAT is going to happen steadily, according to Sierra. The decision is not yet finalized by Noble, but the Noble students will have the opportunity of taking both the ACT and SAT test.
Although the ACT and SAT test are different, the SAT test will be similar to the ACT. Because the tests are similar, the assessment will continue. Sierra explains, “The new SAT send to be much closer to the ACT than the previous test. We therefore look to continue the interim cycles as we have done for the ACT.”
Pritzker is most likely at the top five percent of ACT scores for a number of reasons. Kruger thinks one major reason is the culture of our school. “ Students are able to learn in their classes because distractions are minimized,” stated Kruger.
Another major reason for the Pritzker being in the top five percent in ACT scores is the teachers’ dedication to the students. “Teachers are working all of the time [well, past school hours] to ensure that students receive the best education possible” said Kruger.
There has been a debate if the Noble Network Charter school should close. Being in the top five percent ACT score in the city shows “Every child that chooses Noble has a vastly better chance of succeeding and getting into a great college. Probably every student from this area attending UIUC and the University of Michigan came from Pritzker” said Sierra.
Both CPS and Noble Charter high schools are taking the same ACT test, but the ways the schools prepare the students can be different between the schools.
Zayalize Garcia, a senior who transferred in from a CPS her sophomore year, explains her experience with testing at a CPS high school environment. “When I was at Foreman, we did not get ACT practice correctly. We did get passages that we had to read and answer questions for, however, that was unusually homework so we got to take our time to answer and [study] the passages.” Garcia also explained the difference between the testing environment at Foreman high school and Pritzker; “we could listen to music while we work[ed].”
Similarity, Sara Arroyo, a prior student at Marine Leadership Academy at Ames and currently a sophomore at Roberto Clemente. Arroyo explained, Marine Leadership Academy prepared her for the ACT but not like Pritzker.
“The school prepared us for the ACT but it did not have much practice. We practiced about two times my freshman year but that’s it.”
At Pritzker, however, learning is the number one priority in order to help boost scores: The testing environment at Pritzker, very strict and orderly. Everything is timed and the room has to be dead silent. “The environment is very focused [so we can make] sure we’re actually putting effort into our answer and thinking about what we know and still need to learn,” stated Garcia.
Senior, Jennifer Delgado, also stated that she wasn’t surprised with Pritzker ranking to 10; “ the instructors know how to prepare us, not only to succeed in standardized tests but for academic material and integrity.”
“I think Pritzker deserves to be in the top 10 because we’re pushed in order to have great ACT scores for colleges. Our hard work has payed off,” explained senior Karla Concepcion.
Concepcion also added that Pritzker has great teachers who try to help the students achieve their goals and the school spirit is high. “When we took our first official ACT, posters were hung on our locker and all grade levels were in the hall cheering for us as we went into our testing rooms. I think that plays a big role on how confident we are on the ACT day. It’s something that I know not many schools do.”
The top 15 ACT scores in the cityCredit: Pablo Sierra