CPS reopens high school applications for 806 students after data entry snafu

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Chicago Public Schools headquarters. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

More than 800 Chicago Public Schools students have to resubmit their high school applications after a district computing error allowed many to apply to schools they aren’t eligible for — and blocked some from seeing their full range of options.

After several parents started asking about program eligibility, CPS discovered it had loaded thousands of incorrect GPAs into the GoCPS online portal, which students use to submit applications electronically, district officials said Friday.

The GPA gaffe means hundreds of eighth graders were shown incorrect lists of high school programs they could apply for ahead of the 2019-2020 school year.

In all, 798 students were able to apply for programs that they’re not academically eligible for, and eight were prevented from seeing their full list of options, CPS said.

Another 7,548 students were assigned miscalculated GPAs in the web portal, but the mix-up didn’t affect their eligibility lists.

The error did not impact selective-enrollment school applications, which are managed in a different dataset, CPS said.

GoCPS was unveiled by then-CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson in August 2017. | Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun Times

GoCPS was unveiled by then-CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson in August 2017. | Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun Times

“CPS is committed to providing families with an application process that is accessible, equitable and accurate, and the district has taken action to correct this error and ensure all students have access to the programs they qualify to attend,” CPS spokesman Michael Passman said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to all families who were impacted by our error, and we are fully committed to supporting them in the weeks ahead as they evaluate their application options.”

CPS fixed the GPA errors and on Friday notified the affected families, giving the 806 students two weeks to modify their applications. The district said it also was notifying principals and school counselors to help the affected students.

The district said the GPA miscalculations were confined to this year and didn’t impact last year’s applications, when GoCPS was introduced. Students can log in to confirm their current GPA.

CPS has not yet processed the roughly 26,000 applications, which students were required to submit by Dec. 14. Students can adjust their school choice rankings through Feb. 1, though they can’t add new schools to their lists.

CPS said it’s looking at “additional quality control measures” to prevent future errors.

MORE:

Thousands of CPS high school seats unfilled despite new application process

One in five applicants to selective CPS high schools got a top three choice last year

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