GreatSchools.org launches nationwide ratings update for public schools

New ratings emphasize equity and elevate student academic progress, or “growth,” as a key measure of school quality.

OAKLAND, CA (September 24, 2020)GreatSchools.org, the leading provider of school information, is launching updated Equity and Summary Ratings for K-12 public schools across the nation today. The new methodology gives parents, advocacy organizations, and other community stakeholders a view of school quality that prioritizes equitable outcomes. The new Equity Rating will now include student growth and college readiness metrics in addition to proficiency rates. The Summary Rating will also shift to emphasize student growth relative to test score performance in order to focus on how well schools are helping students learn each school year.

GreatSchools.org launched multi-measured schools ratings — including its Equity Rating — in 2017. The updated Summary Rating and Equity Rating methodology announced today is the result of a thorough process of consulting with parents, education researchers, policymakers, and civil rights advocates, as well as reviewing current research and available data that address equitable outcomes for all students.

“This is a big day for us. At GreatSchools, we are always working to improve our ratings and how we provide information and support for parents,” says Jon Deane, CEO of GreatSchools. “Focusing on student growth over time and equity measures in our new ratings helps us see the quality of instruction and experiences students receive in a school versus the advantages or disadvantages they may have in life. This is just a start — we will continue to uncover new ways to highlight school quality for all families.”

In a time when our country is reckoning with systemic inequities, GreatSchools.org is doubling down on ways to identify opportunities while continuing to shed light on educational disparities.

“We recognize that schools are complex and that the definition of success is as diverse as the millions of parents who visit GreatSchools each year,” said Orville Jackson, Vice President of Data Strategy at GreatSchools.org. “Our aim is to develop a broader view of school quality that increasingly reflects a focus on equity, better accounts for the complexities inherent in building just systems of education, and provides the parents we serve — many of whom have few resources — the information they need to set their child up for success.”

Key changes to the GreatSchools Summary Ratings include:

  • Elevating the relative weight of data that measures student learning (Student Progress, or growth data, and Academic Progress, or growth proxy).
  • Elevating the relative weight of the Equity Rating.
  • Continuing to display a red flag for schools with significant disparities in discipline and attendance but removing this factor from the Summary Rating.

The GreatSchools Equity Rating measures a school’s success in serving historically underserved students compared to all students in the state and in-school achievement gaps between underserved student groups and other students. Changes to the GreatSchools Equity Rating include:

  • Adding college readiness metrics, such as college entrance exam performance (SAT/ACT), high school graduation rates, and percentage of graduates who meet more advanced graduation requirements (e.g. A-G course requirements in CA).
  • Adding measurements of student learning (Student Progress, or growth data, and Academic Progress, or growth proxy).

GreatSchools.org will continue to expand its data and information for parents and the rating system that parents know and trust. The current changes paint a more accurate picture of which schools are providing equitable outcomes for Black students, Hispanic/Latino students, Native American students, and students living in poverty, but there is more valuable school information to share with parents. GreatSchools.org is committed to accessing and advocating for new data that gives parents a richer picture of their child’s education and highlights excellence for all students.

In addition to school information, GreatSchools.org also offers parents free resources to support the academic and social-emotional development of their children in kindergarten through 12th grade, including articles, worksheets, videos, podcasts, and grade-based newsletters in English and Spanish. During these unprecedented times, GreatSchools.org’s school closure learning guide in English and Spanish provides families with grade-based tools, resource recommendations, and guidance for learning at home.

GreatSchools.org’s experts are available for media interviews. For more information about their ratings and methodology visit https://www.greatschools.org/gk/ratings/.

About GreatSchools:
GreatSchools is the leading national nonprofit empowering parents with essential information to improve educational opportunities for their child. Using GreatSchools’ trusted ratings and school quality information, parents can find the right school for their family and take action to improve schools in their communities. Thousands of articles, tips and interactive tools offer parents easy-to-use resources to support their child’s learning and wellbeing every day. Families, community leaders and policymakers turn to GreatSchools for the school information they need to guide children to great futures.

Author: GreatSchools.org

GreatSchools is the leading national nonprofit empowering parents with essential information to improve educational opportunities for their child. GreatSchools’ trusted ratings and school quality information help parents find the right school for their family and take action to improve schools in their communities. Thousands of articles, tips and interactive tools help parents support their child’s learning and well-being every day. Families, community leaders and policymakers turn to GreatSchools for the school information they need to guide children to great futures.