Westinghouse High School

Contact Information

Principal: Patrick McGill
Admissions Director: Rebecca Miller
Phone: 773-534-6400
Web site: www.newwestinghouse.org
Address: 3223 West Franklin Blvd., Chicago, IL 60624
Freshman class size: 600 (Selective Enrollment only)
Total enrollment: 1,200 (600 Selective Enrollment, 600 Vocational) for 9-12 planned

Admissions

Average admissions scores for admitted Westinghouse students fell sharply in the most recent round of admissions (-49 points) as CPS used the more rigorous MAP test for the 7th grade standardized test in its admissions formula. Scores at Westinghouse fell significantly across all Tiers.

For the past seven years, CPS has been using a socioeconomic Tier system to select students for all of its selective admissions schools. Currently, thirty percent of seats (sometimes called “Rank”) are allocated to students with the highest academic performance citywide – regardless of their “socioeconomic status”. The remaining seventy percent are allocated to each of four socioeconomic Tiers, with each Tier receiving 17.5%. Students compete for this portion based their academic performance in comparison with other students in their Tier.

Use of the Tier system has led to significant gaps in the academic achievement required for admissions between students from different parts of the City of Chicago. There is a particularly large gap between admissions scores of Tier 4 (the highest socioeconomic Tier) and Tier 1 (the lowest socioeconomic Tier) – in the more competitive schools.

In 2016-2017 (the most recent round of admissions), there was a negative 29 point gap between the average score of an admitted Westinghouse’s Tier 4 and Tier 1 student. In other words, average scores of admitted Tier 1 students were 29 points higher than the average scores of admitted Tier 4 students.

Similarly, cut-off scores in the most recent round of admissions (2016-2017) remain higher for Tier 4 students than for Tier 1 students indicating that Westinghouse continues to have difficulty attracting academically advanced middle class students.

Unlike most Selective Enrollment High Schools, Westinghouse does accept a limited number of transfer students as upperclassmen.

Programs

Westinghouse has a new Principal, Patrick McGill, who previously was a Resident Principal at the school. Prior to coming to Westinghouse, McGill was the Science Department Chair at TEAM Englewood.

Westinghouse opened in 2009-2010 in a new $106.5 million facility, housing under one roof both a Selective Enrollment and Vocational High School, with students divided evenly between the two programs. There is a separate admissions policies for each of these schools with Selective Enrollment students chosen under the same admissions policy that is used for the other Selective Enrollment high schools.

The Vocational High School (College to Careers) offers a number of different tracks including Broadcast-Technology & Media, Business, Information Technology, and Health Science Academies.

Westinghouse students can choose advanced placement options (e.g., in English, Math, Science, Social Science, Art, and Foreign Language), an accelerated math program, and will be offered 4 years of either Spanish or Chinese.

Westinghouse is placing a special emphasis on improving the writing of its students. The school is using Criterion, an on-line program produced by ETS (Educational Testing Services) – the same organization that publishes the SAT – to improve the writing of its students. In addition, Westinghouse is partnering with outside organizations including Young Chicago Authors, 826chi Writing and Tutoring Center, and Louder than a Bomb to provide students with writing opportunities outside the classroom.

Westinghouse also has a partnership with Northwestern, Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program, to expose students to careers in medicine.

Activities/Clubs/Sports

Westinghouse offers a number of Academic Clubs including an Academic Decathlon, Creative Writing, Debate, Robotics, Math and Science Olympiad, and Yearbook. The “old” Westinghouse is well known for its strong basketball heritage and the “new” Westinghouse offers a range of sports programs.

Academics

In 2012 Westinghouse released its first batch of test performance data for its junior class as a new school. This data is based on the Prairie State Achievement Test (PSAE), which includes the ACT.

Note that CPS has not broken out scores for Selective Enrollment and vocational students separately — so separate Westinghouse Selective Enrollment scores could be higher than those discussed in this section.

The performance of 11th graders on the PSAE (which includes the ACT) is used by the State of Illinois to assess reading, math, and science proficiency. In 2014, 70% of Westinghouse 11th graders met or exceeded standards in Reading, 67% met or exceeded standards in Math, and 42% met or exceeded standards in Science.

Unfortunately very few Westinghouse students exceeded standards in these areas. In 2014, 3% of Westinghouse exceeded standards in Reading, 3% exceeded standards in Mathematics and 3% exceeded standards in Science.

sehs 2015 Westinghouse fig4

The ACT is the most widely used college admissions test, so its scores provide a useful guide for comparing high school academic performance. The test contains four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. In addition students receive a composite score which is the average of these sections. The score of any of these sections and the composite range from 1 to 36.

Selective Enrollment High School students achieved an average composite score of 24.5 (approximately 75th percentile nationally) in 2016. This compares to Westinghouse’s 2016 composite of 21.0 (approximately 56th percentile nationally) and Chicago’s 18.0 (approximately 36th percentile nationally), putting Westinghouse above the District (City of Chicago) average but slightly below the national average.

2016 Performance on ACT College Readiness Benchmarks

The ACT organization has defined four “College Readiness Benchmark Scores” – median test scores that are predictive of student “success” in the relevant college courses. ACT defines “success” as a 50% or higher probability of earning a B or better in the corresponding college coursework.

In 2016, Westinghouse met only one of the four College Readiness Benchmarks. Westinghouse met the College Readiness Benchmark for English (20.9 vs. the ACT Benchmark of 18), but missed those for Mathematics (20.7 vs. vs. the ACT Benchmark of 22), Reading (20.6 vs. vs. the ACT Benchmark of 22), and Science (21.1 vs. vs. the ACT Benchmark of 23).

In 2016, 75% of Westinghouse were College Ready in English, 38% were College Ready in Reading, 44% were College Ready in Math and 34% were College Ready in Science as shown below in Figure 6.

Westinghouse’s 2016 State of Illinois and National Ranking

  • 2016 State of Illinois Rank/National Rank: 46/1,048 (US News & World Reports). In 2016, US News & World Reports ranked Westinghouse 46th in the State of Illinois and 1,181 nationally. US News & World Reports uses an assessment of college readiness including performance on the ACT and AP Exams.

For additional academic information about Westinghouse, click here for a state report card.