Chicago charter schools increase student test scores and college readiness CHICAGO, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the first time in Chicago history, this year the top 11 highest performing non-selective Chicago Public Schools high schools are charter schools. This year's performance is up from nine schools on the list in both 2011 and 2012 and seven schools on the list in 2010. The Noble Network of Charter Schools led the pack with a total of nine schools in the top 10 this year. Chicago International Charter Schools – Northtown and Chicago Math and Science Academy tied for the 10 th spot. This is the first time charter public schools accounted for all schools in the top ten rankings of non-selective enrollment high schools in the city. All Illinois students are required to take the ACT and the composite score of 21 is widely used as the national benchmark to determine college readiness. Noble Network's UIC College Prep campus' score of 22 is the highest ever average at an open enrollment, non-selective CPS high school. All 11 charter schools in the top 10 non-selective enrollment high schools surpassed CPS' district ACT average of 17.7, and four met or surpassed the national benchmark of 21. This year's scores reflect the upward trend on the ACT for all students in non-selective enrollment schools, indicating that charter schools continue to push the bar higher for student achievement across the district. In short, Chicago public charter schools are proving what parents already know: when it comes to academic outcomes, charter public schools are changing lives. "The rise in ACT scores is evidence of what we already know: all Chicago public school students can achieve academic success when given the necessary tools and guidance," said Andrew Broy, President of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. "Charter schools ensure more students have access to the high-quality education they deserve. We applaud the dedication and daily sacrifices of the many charter school teachers, administrators and staff. It's hard work. But because of their focus on academic growth and relentless efforts to improve student outcomes, more students are on the right path and prepared to succeed in college and beyond." While ACT scores have long been a mainstay in evaluating school and student performance, they are only one part of the story. We must broaden the debate on what it takes to be successful in college. Student growth, graduation rates, and college enrollment and persistence rates are critical metrics for understanding a school's performance in preparing students for college and life. Student growth during high school is a particularly powerful predictor of future success – and proves that a student's academic starting point does not define his or her potential.