In all categories, GreatPhillySchools sought and used the most current data available in developing school ratings. As newer information becomes available in any or all categories, GPS will frequently update the ratings to reflect the new data. Updates will be announced when they happen on the GPS homepage.
Academic Ratings: Public school ratings are derived from results on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment standardized tests (PSSAs) administered in spring 2012—measuring what percent of students read and did math at their grade level or above. Catholic school ratings are derived from results on Terra Nova 3rd Edition standardized assessments administered in spring 2011 for high schools and spring 2012 for elementary schools—measuring what percent of students read and did math at their grade level or above.
Attendance Ratings: Public school ratings are derived from average daily attendance reports submitted by schools to the state Department of Education for the academic year 2010-11. Catholic school ratings are derived from average daily attendance reports submitted by schools to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (or, in some cases, directly to GPS) for the academic year 2009-10.
Safety Ratings: Public school ratings are derived from the total number of reportable incidents reported to the state Department of Education for the academic year 2010-11. A reportable incident includes one or more acts of misconduct, involving one or more offenders violating criteria defined Pennsylvania Act 26 of 1995. These include but are not limited to any behavior that violates a school's educational mission or climate of respect or jeopardizes the intent of the school to be free of aggression against persons or property, drugs, weapons, disruptions and disorder. Reportable incidents include serious criminal violations such as rape and aggravated assault, as well as much broader types of violation such as bullying, fighting and minor altercations. Catholic school ratings are derived from similar reports submitted by schools to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the academic year 2009-10. Schools’ total numbers of reported incidents are divided by 100 students so that ratings are based on proportional comparisons. A school with 1,000 students and 20 incidents has an incident rate of 2-per-100 students, while a school of 300 students and 9 incidents has an incident rate of 3-per-100.
To view a safety report for a particular public school, see the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Reports.
Achievement Gap Ratings: Public school ratings are derived from results on PSSAs administered in spring 2011—comparing results for students in a school who are deemed economically disadvantaged vs. results for those students who are not economically disadvantaged. A gap is calculated only in schools that have at least 10% of the student body falling into each group. Because Terra Nova data does not report on students’ socioeconomic status, GPS is unable to calculate an achievement gap in Catholic schools.
College Bound Ratings: All high school ratings in this category are derived from data collected by the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit institution that tracks student enrollment in 2- and 4-year colleges for the benefit of K-12 school systems, colleges and student loan institutions. Three times in the year following June 2011 graduation, the Clearinghouse identified all students who were enrolled in a college or university. When a high percentage of high-school graduates enroll in college within one year of high-school graduation, it is a positive indicator of the high school’s record in preparing students for college.
High School Graduation: Public school graduation rates are four-year “cohort” rates for the class of 2011—measuring what percent of a school’s 9th graders in 2007 graduated four years later, after adjusting for transfers in and transfers out (students transferring from one school to another). Catholic schools report a one-year graduation rate, which is the percentage of 12th graders who graduate at the end of the year.
Most other numbers on GreatPhillySchools were provided by the schools themselves or by the School District. These include Advanced Placement participation rates and SAT scores.