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University of Chicago Study Finds Modest Learning Gains

A study conducted by the University of Chicago finds that while graduation rates have had significant growth, learning gains have been modest, racial gaps have widened, and many students have academic achievement levels below what is necessary to go to college. The report utilizes data that has been tracked since 1998, when U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett proclaimed Chicago’s schools to be the worst in the nation.

The study explains that the higher graduation rate can be attributed to a lowering of standards over the last 20 years. A Chicago Tribune editorial doesn’t think the study’s results are surprising, saying “Illinois sets the bar very low compared with other states, and in recent years has even lowered passing scores, creating phantom gains. Yes, we’ve dumbed down our tests. This should not come as a shock.”

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