Chicago Public Schools Changes Date of High School Admissions Test

Chicago Public Schools has announced a revised schedule for the High School Admissions Test after it was canceled last week due to technical issues.

In the new schedule, district students in eighth grade will take the test on either October 24 or October 25. The specific date will be assigned to each student’s school, as stated in a letter from CPS to families. Students taking the exam in Spanish, Arabic, Polish, Urdu, or simplified Chinese will have their test on November 1.

Non-CPS students, whose testing window was canceled last weekend, can now take the exam on October 28, October 29, or November 5 at Lane Tech or Lindblom high schools, according to the district. These students must sign up for an exam date in GoCPS, the city’s admissions application system, by 9 a.m. on October 23.

It is important to note that the exam will not be the same as the one originally planned for last week. Students who were able to access the test previously will not encounter the same questions in the rescheduled exam, according to officials.

For students who were able to complete the exam before the technical issues, they will be allowed to retake the test. The new score from the retake will be used for admissions, even if it is lower than the previous score.

To opt out of retaking the exam, students must fill out and return a form to their school by October 23. It is strongly recommended by district officials that students take advantage of the opportunity to retake the exam due to the glitches experienced during the initial test.

The HSAT was originally scheduled for October 11. It is a required exam for selective enrollment high schools and some schools outside of students’ neighborhood boundaries.

On the original test day, technical problems arose with the testing vendor, Riverside Associates, LLC. It was later discovered that backlogged servers caused the issues. Students were unable to log in, and the help desk provided by the company proved unreachable. As a result, district officials instructed principals to halt exam administration for students who were unable to log in.

The exam was subsequently canceled for non-CPS students who were supposed to take it on October 14 and 15.

The vendor resolved the problem by adding server capacity and conducting tests to ensure the system functions properly, according to the district’s FAQ.

Students’ HSAT scores play a significant role in determining their chances of admission to selective high schools. This year, students must submit their top choices through GoCPS by November 9, a month earlier than usual. Originally, students were allowed to re-rank their choices until November 22, but the rescheduled HSAT prompted district officials to extend the re-rank deadline to December 1.

The district is taking extra precautions with the new testing plan after the previous glitches. During a Board of Education meeting, CPS Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova acknowledged the district’s commitment to avoiding further issues but did not elaborate on the specific strategies employed.

According to the online FAQ, the district’s team has reviewed the results of vendor testing to ensure the readiness of the HS Admissions Test program.

Chkoumbova apologized to families for the inconveniences and expressed disappointment in the platform failure, given the district’s efforts to reduce student anxiety. This year, the test was shortened to one hour from the previous duration of 2 ½ hours. It was also offered in multiple languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Urdu, and Polish.

“Our team took several precautions before the testing session, but the platform failed,” Chkoumbova said at the board meeting.

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