GreatSchools Launches Expanded School Rating System for Parents in California

Parents to Find Information on More Factors that Have an Impact on Student Success

OAKLAND, CA – September 21, 2017 — GreatSchools—the leading nonprofit provider of trusted school information—is rolling out new school ratings for all schools nationally, starting with California. Parents in California now have expanded information about important aspects of schools—including course access, student progress, and equity—that can help them support their children’s education and take action to improve their local schools.

Taking advantage of the range of education data states make available, GreatSchools is adding this rich data into its rating system to ensure that school ratings reflect factors we know are important to parents and that are connected to students’ success in college and later in life. The new GreatSchools Summary Ratings include the following:

  • An Academic Progress Rating that shows how much a school helps students improve academically throughout the school year;
  • An Equity Rating that indicates whether a school effectively serves all groups of students, including students in different ethnic groups and students from low-income families; and
  • An Advanced Coursework Rating, which includes information on the courses a school offers and the average number of advanced courses a student takes at the school.

“We believe schools must serve the needs of every child, in every community, and we know that parents play an enormous role in ensuring this happens,” says Matthew Nelson, president of GreatSchools. “We hope our new rating system and school profiles will further enable parents to be strong advocates for their children—and all children in their communities—to help all kids have a shot at success.”

GreatSchools new school profiles were designed with an explicit focus on the types of information parents need and the support that can help them take action with this information. For example, if a parent sees that their child’s school has a low Equity Rating compared to other schools in California, they will find tips on how they can engage teachers and administrators to discuss improving the education of all students at this school. In addition, GreatSchools will continue to offer stories, videos, tips, grade-by-grade newsletters and interactive tools for parents on ways to support their children’s academic and social-emotional development from preschool through high school.

“Parents look to GreatSchools to find a good education for their child and to see how their local schools are doing,” says Sierra Jenkins, Vice President of the San Francisco Bay Area-based Innovate Public Schools. “GreatSchools’ valuable information can equip parents to not only support their own children but also have a seat at the table when it comes to improving their schools and communities.”

California is the first state to benefit from the expanded school ratings—the expanded ratings will launch nationwide by early November—and California parents already have positive reactions to the improved GreatSchools tool. “I care about test scores, but I really want to know that my son will get the same learning opportunities as other kids at his school,” says Lee Hsu from San Francisco. “The GreatSchools ratings and profiles help me understand that—and how I can help both my son and his school be successful.”


GreatSchools is the leading nonprofit providing high-quality information that supports parents pursuing a great education for their child, schools striving for excellence, and communities working to diminish inequities in education. We are the only national organization that collects and analyzes data from all 51 state departments of education and the federal government to provide analysis, insights, and school quality ratings for parents, partners, researchers, and policymakers. Over 49 million users visit GreatSchools’ award-winning website annually to learn about schools in their area, explore research insights, and access thousands of free, evidence-based parenting resources to support their child’s learning and well-being.

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