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Table of Contents

Overview: GreatPhillySchools Ratings

What Our Ratings Tell You
GreatPhillySchools ratings are designed to help you get started and decide what questions to ask when visiting a school. GPS measures how well an elementary school, middle school or high school fulfills each of the characteristics of a great school by assigning each one a rating in the following categories, ranging from 1 for the lowest-performing to 10 for the highest:

Academics. The GPS Academics rating lets you know how well students are learning and achieving by measuring their performance on state and national reading and math tests.

Safety. The GPS Safety rating lets you know how safe students are by measuring a school’s reports of serious incidents. 

Student Attendance. The GPS Attendance rating lets you know how engaged students are by measuring the school’s average daily attendance.

Achievement Gap. The GPS Achievement Gap rating lets you know whether all students are equally supported by measuring a school’s record of helping students of limited financial means learn.

For high schools, we include a fifth rating:

College Bound. The GPS College Bound rating measures how many of a school’s graduates go on to higher education. (Please see “A Note on Our College Bound Ratings” for more information.)

GPS then combines each school’s Academics, Safety and Student Attendance ratings (plus the College Bound rating for high schools) to come up with an Overall rating.

These ratings help make it easier to find and compare schools. They are not intended to be the only factor families use in judging whether a school is a good fit for a particular student. No single number, or set of numbers, can substitute for a family’s comprehensive understanding of a school.

Like people, all schools have unique strengths and weaknesses. Our hope is that GPS ratings will help parents, caregivers and students identify those strengths and weaknesses so they can ask the right questions during their school research and when they visit schools.

If you would like more detailed information about our ratings, read “GreatPhillySchools Ratings Methodology” and “No Ratings System Is Perfect.”


Our Ratings Are Not the Final Word
In the end, a school must be a personal choice — one that is made on the basis of a particular student’s needs, capabilities and interests. As you think about choosing a school, consider what you want the outcome(s) to be for your child or teen, both in the next year and over the long term. Is it developing a passion for school? Overcoming a learning disability? College? A career?

GPS ratings are derived from outcomes that are measured broadly, across a school’s entire student body. Use them together with the descriptions and other information provided by the schools to see if one might be a likely fit.

But don’t stop there. Call or visit the school and ask for proof of the outcomes you want for your child or teen. For ideas, see our list of questions to ask when visiting a school [LINK].

Finally, keep in mind that GPS ratings compare schools in the city to one another. Schools outside the city are not included here. Because the city’s schools as a whole underperform those in the rest of the state and the nation, an average school in Philadelphia is below average in the United States. We hope this won’t always be the case, but for now it is the reality.


How Philadelphia Elementary/Middle Schools Compare to State Averages

 Reading Proficiency  
     Pennsylvania (statewide)          
     Philadelphia (all schools)  50%
     Philadelphia (schools rated 8 or higher)  70%+
 Math Proficiency  
     Pennsylvania (statewide)  76%
     Philadelphia (all schools)    57%
     Philadelphia (schools rated 8 or higher)  75%+


How Philadelphia High Schools Compare to State Averages

 Reading Proficiency  
     Pennsylvania (statewide)            69%
     Philadelphia (all high schools)  47%
     Philadelphia (high schools rated 8 or higher)  79%
 Math Proficiency  
     Pennsylvania (statewide)  62%
     Philadelphia (all high schools)    42%
     Philadelphia (high schools rated 8 or higher)  79%