GreatPhillySchools Releases 2018 School Ratings and Profiles with New Enhancements Based on Feedback from Families

Schools with ‘High Academic Growth’ are Highlighted with a New Indicator

Philadelphia, PA – Today, GreatPhillySchools (GPS) updated its ratings for around 400 schools of all types – public district, public charter and private – across Philadelphia. GPS has made several enhancements to its ratings methodology based on analysis, and parent and educator input. On the 10-point rating scale, 55 schools across the city had an overall rating of 8 or higher.

In addition, for the first time, the 2018 school profiles include a ‘High Academic Growth’ indicator for 54 public district and charter schools that have significantly exceeded the norm for academic growth over the most recent three-year period in both math and English language arts (ELA) on the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS). Academic growth represents the progress a student makes from one school year to the next. Among the schools with the highest academic growth are C.C.A Baldi Middle School, Universal Creighton Charter School, Olney Elementary School, and Folks Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School.

GreatPhillySchools is designed to help families research and compare Philadelphia schools on both academic and non-academic factors. Schools earn a rating on a 1-to-10 scale in multiple categories, including student performance in ELA, math, and science, in addition to student attendance, school incidents, and college matriculation. All of these are then weighted together to generate a school’s overall quality. Most of the underlying data for public district and charter schools come from the 2016-17 academic year, from public files published by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, each school has a comprehensive profile with other essential data for families, such as information on demographics, school culture, special programs, and extracurricular activities.

“GPS works to ensure the ratings and profiles reflect what Philadelphia families consider to be most important when choosing a school for their child,” said Director of GreatPhillySchools Salma Khan. “Over the past year, GPS held family focus groups and met with many Philadelphia school leaders, advisors, and parents to help us improve the ratings and profiles.”

Based on this feedback, the 2018 school ratings and profiles now include:

  • An Emphasis on Student Academic Growth – To highlight public district and charter schools that have shown significant student growth on state assessments over the most recent three years, GPS has added a ‘High Academic Growth’ indicator to their profiles. The underlying data for this indicator comes from the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS). GPS obtained from PVAAS 3-year Average Growth Index (AGI) data, separately in math and ELA, for each school. Schools with a 3-year AGI of 2.0 or higher in both math and ELA 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. The growth indicator is not factored into a school’s overall rating.
  • Weighted Ratings – Each school’s overall rating is based on a formula that weights each sub-rating category (e.g., academics, school incidents, attendance, and college matriculation). GPS has adjusted the weight for each sub-rating category. For example, the academic sub-rating now accounts for 70% of the overall rating for schools with grades K-8 (previously 60%), and 50% of the overall rating for schools with grades 9-12 (previously 30%).
  • More Comparable School Groupings Schools are now grouped in three categories based on the highest grade level served (3-5, 6-8, and 9-12), ensuring that schools are compared against other schools serving similar grade levels.

The new 2018 ratings are available at and additional information about the methodology is on the ratings methodology webpage. In addition, the ratings will be included in the new high school and elementary and middle school print guides distributed publicly in the spring.


About GreatPhillySchools

GreatPhillySchools (GPS) is a free, convenient and unbiased resource that helps parents, guardians, and students find, compare and choose great schools in Philadelphia. First launched in 2012 with profiles of elementary, middle and high schools, more than 130,000 families used GPS resources last year. GPS reaches parents and students in multiple ways, including through its website, which provides information in one place on the academics, extracurriculars, performance data, school incidents, and student engagement of Philadelphia’s more than 400 public district, public charter, Catholic and private K-12 schools. GPS expanded its reach in 2016 by adding a searchable database of more than 2,000 early childhood education programs. Further, GPS’s free printed guides, toolkits, workbooks and workshops promote and explain the enrollment process of Philadelphia schools. GPS also sends text and email notifications to keep families up to date on available seats and important deadlines.