Chicago Public Schools Endorses Argument-Centered Education to Support Schools’ Transition to the New SAT
The nation’s third largest school district, Chicago Public Schools, has endorsed Argument-Centered Education as an organization whose work helps schools authentically prepare their students for newly redesigned SAT college readiness and admissions exam. In its 2017 guidebook, used by all 660 schools in the CPS system, Transitioning to the SAT Suite of Assessments, the CPS Office of Teaching and Learning singles out Argument-Centered Education as a national organization endorsed to support schools in their shift to greater emphasis on higher-order learning, critical thinking, and argumentation.
CPS cites ACE’s ability to support schools’ in their design and implementation of instructional strategies that
create prompts and activities that require students to synthesize varied viewpoints to inform their own claim:
Essay writing prompts
Synthesis Simulations (i.e. town hall forum on a new policy)
Focus on argumentation (debates, essays, discussions on controversial issues) (p.9)
Speaking to the Chicago Public Schools’ endorsement of Argument-Centered Education, Civic Education Manager for the district Heather Van Benthuysen comments:
ACE’s supports and resources not only help teachers shift to the challenging instructional demands of the SAT, but their engaging methods prepare students to take part in meaningful, critical conversation on important issues. These skills and experiences are crucial for college readiness, and what is more, crucial for an engaged and informed civic life. ACE’s work is relevant in every subject area; argumentation serves as common focus point for teachers of all content areas to align skill development and strategies in order to better ensure growth for every student.
The redesigned SAT/PSAT has become a primary national assessment tool in secondary education for Chicago Public Schools and many other school districts across the country. This move has been made mainly because these districts believe that the SAT/PSAT does a better job than others at testing for the higher-order thinking skills that distinguish trends and patterns across the newest iterations of learning and instruction standards.
Schools in and around Chicago, New York City, and beyond have partnered with Argument-Centered Education to build their capacity to put certain student habits of mind at the center of their classrooms in every subject area: thinking critically, making evidence-backed claims and evaluating evidence, writing well-reasoned and extended arguments, justifying and defending solutions or conclusions, and understanding rhetorical situations, purposes, and effects. CPS officially believes — and ACE partner schools have also attested — that when teachers are better able to teach with these practices and routines in regular and effective use in their classrooms, they are preparing students for the cognitive work demanded by the SAT/PSAT, by colleges, and by the professional workplace beyond.
Contact us to see if we can help your school, network, or district produce authentic college-readiness for all students — firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-646-2180.