Factors on High School Graduation Rates in Chicago Public Schools

Presented by:
Samantha Kilcoyne, Huijun Huang, & Maya Cords (Williams College)

The purpose of this paper is to ascertain which factors have the greatest influence over graduation rate in high schools in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Using the 2017-2018 CPS report, with identification information, student surveys, and teacher surveys about schools within CPS, we found that mobility rate, school type, involvement of parents, attendance average, school survey safety, ambitious instruction, and culture climate rating have the most significant impact on graduation rate. Mobility rate and attendance were found to be particularly useful predictors in our model. We hypothesize that attendance average is highly correlated with graduation rate because students are more likely to learn and retain information when they are present in the classroom as opposed to when they are missing lectures. Mobility rate may be a significant factor due to the difficulty and culture shock that transferring schools can inflict upon students, hindering their ability to learn comfortably. Because Chicago public schools have some of the lowest graduation rates in the US, research is necessary to determine the causes of low graduation rates and the changes required to accommodate the needs of students in the district.