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CPS Tiers, Part 1: a Brief Introduction

Updated: Apr 15

CPS organizes its systems in several ways. While CPS draws its school boundaries by neighborhoods, CPS organizes its students using a 4-level tier system. In this series, we explore the tier system and its impacts on your academic path.


Tier Calculation


Tiers are calculated by census block. Census blocks are the units by which the federal government measures the population every ten years. You may remember community-wide initiatives last year meant to encourage households to fill out their census in the summer of 2020. Census blocks are typically about 3,000 people, with census officials taking statistics from all census responses within the block. The more households who fill out their census, the more accurate their census block data is. Because your census block is determined by where you live, your CPS tier is also determined by where you live rather than where you go to school.


CPS uses selected statistics of each census block to assign them a tier. In short, the CPS tier formula is made of the following:


  1. Four socioeconomic statistics from the census

  2. Percentage of people over 25 by level of education attained

  3. Public school composite ISAT scores, weighted by population of each school



Here is a link describing the sub-variables and their numerical weights further: http://cpstiers.opencityapps.org/tier-calculation.html



How to Find Your Tier

You can find what tier you are in by inputting your primary address into this interactive map: https://schoolinfo.cps.edu/schoollocator/index.html?overlay=tier


Let’s use Tiger Tutor’s address as an example.


  1. Load the CPS School Locator page. Stay in Map mode the entire time. Satellite mode will just slow things down.


  1. Enter your primary address in the search bar. Your address will appear as a yellow pin. Your tier is in the pop-up below the search bar. Tiger Tutor is in Tier 2.







Thank you for reading! Next time, we discuss how tiers relate to your CPS Entrance Exam Scores and SEHS admissions. We also provide a database of SEHS exam scores accepted by each Selective Enrollment high school going back three years.

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