No Ratings System is Perfect

GreatPhillySchools compiles school ratings from data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the School District of Philadelphia, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the National Student Clearinghouse. See “GPS Data Sources” for a full list of data types and sources.

If there are errors in an official data source, those errors could affect the ratings produced by GPS. Also, it is reasonable to expect that not all data collected by these institutions were tabulated in exactly the same way. For instance, on safety, some schools might count a loud classroom disruption as a serious incident, while others might not.

We have tried in all categories to use data that are comparable. But because much of this data starts with a person making a decision about how to record an incident, and because different people will make different decisions in similar circumstances, we must recognize that a 10-point rating scale cannot reflect small differences between schools with great clarity or precision. That’s why GPS ratings are meant to be guides, not final judgments.

The ratings on the site were calculated in the fall of 2012. We make frequent updates to our ratings as newer or more authoritative data become available.


A Note on Our College Bound Ratings

Each school’s College Bound rating comes from data supplied by the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks and reports on students enrolled in two-year and four-year colleges within one year of high school graduation.

The Clearinghouse tracks enrollment at more than 90 percent of U.S. colleges and universities. But we know it misses some students, which means some high schools surely have college-enrollment rates that are higher than those we show.

GreatPhillySchools is working with city high schools to develop a valid and consistent method for supplementing Clearinghouse data so that our College Bound ratings are as accurate and complete as possible. If you are interested in a high school and want to know more about where its graduates go, visit the school’s own website or call the school to obtain a listing of all colleges in which members of its recent graduating class(es) have enrolled.


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