Since 2013, GreatPhillySchools (“GPS”) has produced annual ratings for K-12 schools in the categories of math, reading, science, attendance, school incidents and college bound (HS only) on a 1-10 scale. The ratings provided a snapshot of school performance in each category by comparing each school’s outcomes to other schools serving similar grade levels. The ratings were produced using an interval-based decile methodology that was developed by GPS in partnership with an outside data consultant.
In 2021, GPS paused its annual ratings update due to the cancellation of standardized testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Standardized testing has resumed in most instances; however, overall test taking rates have not reached pre-pandemic levels. More significantly, schools, students and families are still dealing with the pandemic’s lasting impacts on life in and out of school.
Given this reality, GPS will not publish updated ratings this year. Instead, school profiles have been updated with publicly available academic performance data (see below for a full explanation of data sources).
Over the next year, GPS will gather school and family feedback, and conduct research in order to improve the GPS resource to better guide families through school selection and their students’ educational journeys. Please stay tuned for updates on this endeavor, including opportunities for providing feedback.
Have questions now? Contact us here.
Academic Data Sources Explained
Public school data for K-8 schools, comes from the results on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment standardized tests (PSSAs) administered in Spring 2022 for elementary and middle schools. For public high schools, the data displayed comes from the Spring 2022 administration of the Keystone exam.
Note: due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on standardized testing in Philadelphia schools, many high schools do not have available math data.
Charter schools are public schools and their data comes from the same sources as public district schools.
Any data displayed for private schools comes directly from the standardized test results and other academic data voluntarily self-reported by schools to GPS. In many instances, private schools opt not to report data to GPS or do not collect data or administer standardized tests in a way that allows for the display of their information. If you have questions about a private school’s academic performance information, you should reach out to that school directly.
High Academic Growth: GPS includes a green arrow indicator for public district and charter schools that have shown significant evidence of student growth on state assessments over the most recent three years. The underlying data for this indicator comes from the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS). PVAAS is not a test. PVAAS is an analysis that uses PSSA and Keystone test results to predict and measure student academic growth from one year to the next. GPS uses PVAAS 3-year Average Growth Index (AGI) data, in reading and math, for each school. Schools with a 3-year AGI of 2.0 or higher in both reading and math receive a “High Academic Growth” indicator (green arrow) on their profiles. An AGI of 2 indicates significant evidence that the school exceeded the norm for Pennsylvania Academic Growth.
Note: Catholic and private schools do not receive a PVAAS report and therefore are not eligible for the “High Academic Growth” (green arrow) and this does not mean that Catholic and private schools are not demonstrating significant student growth. Rather, there is not currently a system to reliably compare private school growth to public district and charter schools.
Reading: The number displayed represents the percent of students who tested proficient or advanced in reading on the 2022 PSSAs (K-8 schools) or Keystone exam results (High Schools) released in 2022. For all public schools, this data comes directly from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Information displayed for private schools represents the PSSA or Keystone equivalent calculated based on known test distributions and percentile translations. The test data for private schools is self reported.
Math: The number displayed represents the percent of students who tested proficient or advanced in math on the 2022 PSSAs (K-8 schools) or Keystone exam results (High Schools) released in 2022. For all public schools, this data comes directly from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Information displayed for private schools represents the PSSA or Keystone equivalent calculated based on known test distributions and percentile translations. The test data for private schools is self reported.
Science: The number displayed represents the percent of students who tested proficient or advanced in science on the 2022 PSSAs (K-8 schools) or Keystone exam results (High Schools) released in 2022. For all public schools, this data comes directly from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Private schools do not have an equivalent science test and therefore no science data is displayed.
Attendance: The percentage displayed on the profile is the percent of students who attended 95% or more instructional days of the 2021-22 school year. For all public schools, this data comes directly from the School District of Philadelphia’s 2021-22 School Progress Report on Education and Equity (SPREE). Information displayed for private school ratings also represent the percent of students attending 95% or more instructional days for the 2021-22 school year. This information is sourced from attendance reports submitted by schools directly to GPS.
School Incidents: The number displayed on the profile represents the number of reported disciplinary incidents per 100 students. This data comes directly from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the 2021-22 academic year. Private school ratings are derived from similar reports submitted by private schools directly to GPS for the 2021-22 academic year.
For public schools, a reportable incident includes one or more acts of misconduct, involving one or more offenders violating criteria defined in Pennsylvania Act 26 of 1995. Reportable incidents include serious criminal violations, as well as much broader types of violations such as bullying and fighting. It also includes behavior that violates a school’s educational mission, climate of respect, or jeopardizes the intent of the school to be free of aggression against persons or property, drugs, weapons, disruptions and disorder.
To view a reportable incident report for a particular public school, see the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Reports.
College Bound (High Schools Only): The percentage displayed represents the percentage of annual graduates who enroll in any postsecondary institution in the first fall following their high school graduation. For public schools, this data comes directly from the School District of Philadelphia’s 2021-22 School Progress Report on Education and Equity (SPREE). Information displayed for private schools comes from data self-reported by schools to GPS.
Disclaimer: Data collection for GPS was managed by Elevate 215. We have taken a number of steps to ensure the accuracy of the data reported here. Nonetheless, there may still be errors in the data files that we have not yet identified. If you believe you have found an error in the data, please contact us here.
Looking for more information on finding a great school? See all articles.
Sign up for our GreatPhillySchools mailing list to stay in the loop and receive updates about application deadlines, learning resources for students, schools with open seats, events and more.