Find definitions to specific terminology used in ARA reports.

Key Words

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Birth rate data are sourced through the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Census Data

The ARA utilizes population figures and other demographic data such as household income as provided by the most current United States Census Bureau estimates.


The CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) is the district's policy for measuring annual school performance. Each school receives a quality rating each year, Level 1+, 1, 2+, 2 and 3.

SQRP is based on a broad range of indicators of success, including, but not limited to, student test score performance, student academic growth, performance of certain student populations, school culture and climate, attendance, graduation, and preparation for post-graduation success.

For more information on SQRP, visit


Utilization Data

Utilization is a metric expressed as the ideal capacity and enrollment efficiency of the total number.

  • Elementary School Approach: For elementary schools, CPS provides an enrollment efficiency range based primarily upon the total number of instructional classrooms available in the main/permanent building. Each building is allotted a number of dedicated K-8 general education homeroom classrooms equaling 77% of the total classrooms available. Each elementary school building is also allotted a number of ancillary classrooms equal to 23% of the total classrooms available. An elementary school building’s ideal capacity (IC) is derived first by multiplying the total number of classrooms by 77%, rounding down to the nearest whole number, and then multiplying this product by 30. As an elementary school’s enrollment increases above the efficiency range (above 110% of ideal capacity), a school may be considered overcrowded, as classroom space programing options are reduced or compromised. As an elementary school’s enrollment decreases below the efficiency range (below 70% of ideal capacity), a school may be considered underutilized, as classroom spaces are unused and/or inefficiently programmed making the use of limited resources less effective.

  • High School Approach: As with elementary schools, CPS provides an efficiency range for high schools based primarily upon the total number of instructional classrooms available in the main/permanent building. Each high school’s maximum capacity is identified as a function of the total number of classroom spaces multiplied by 30. A high school’s ideal capacity is 80% of its maximum capacity. As with elementary schools, high school with enrollment between 70-110% of ideal capacity are considered efficiently enrolled, high schools with enrollment above 110% of ideal capacity may be considered overcrowded, and high schools with enrollment below 70% of ideal capacity may be considered under-utilized.

  • Main/Permanent Space vs. Temporary Space, Special Education Cluster Program Classrooms, PreK Classrooms and Small Classrooms: CPS defines main/permanent space as instructional classrooms located within a Board-owned facility built with a fixed foundation that has permanent attached walls, roof and floor that cannot be moved or transported either as a unit or in sections.

    Approximately 71 schools supplement permanent capacity with temporary capacity, typically in the form of modular classroom units or leased classrooms. While these temporary classrooms may be necessary in many cases to prevent or reduce overcrowding, they are not incorporated into the school’s main/permanent total classroom count for the purpose of establishing ideal capacity. However, temporary spaces are included to determine a school’s Adjusted Utilization.

    A second Adjusted Utilization percentage is calculated (refer to column U, “2019-20 Adj Space Utilization2” for schools that have one or more special education cluster program classrooms, PreK program classrooms, or small classrooms identified as having less than 650 square feet. This second adjusted space utilization percentage is calculated by:

    1. Establishing a new, adjusted ideal capacity by reducing the number of total classrooms by the sum of cluster program classrooms, PreK classrooms, and small classrooms (which historically were counted as 0.5 classrooms). These are referred to here as classroom deductions. While these physical spaces remain present, they constitute spaces not available for general ed K-8 instructional use.
    2. Reducing the school’s total enrollment by the number of students assigned to cluster program classrooms and PreK classrooms.
    3. Dividing the resulting adjusted enrollment by the adjusted ideal capacity.
  • Co-located schools: There are eighteen instances where more than one school (typically two) are located within the same facility. In these instances, the ideal capacity refers to the facility itself and the utilization percentage refers to the combined enrollment of the co-located schools.

For more information on Utilization, visit this site.