"apparently, this site is not interested in actually answering questions. I
came to this page looking for an explanation of the shields and handprint
icons and note that the previous commenter asked the same thing nearly six
months ago. this system needs a simple explanation and they can't find a
way to do it. this makes me have less interest in using this site at all.
"What do the shields and the handprint icons in the ratings column mean?
"Parent comments over 3 years old should be omitted from the community
ratings and eliminated from this website. Definitely eliminate old
comments more than 4-5 years old! You still have comments from 2007
listed as a reflection of multiple schools. My child's school has had 3
different principals since then and is a totally different environment.
Need to set some parameters around making sure comments are timely.
"What is this "great school" rating business? I thought rankings were based
on TAKS testing and the top ranking to strive for is "exemplary school". I
know for a fact that my children's schools have the "exemplary" ranking
and none of this ridiculous "great school" stuff. Seems they create
special ratings for schools who don't meet the standard TAKS test levels.
"What the differences between Greatschool ratings and Community
ratings?There are some symbols on Greatschool symbols,which have different
colors,and has number in red,what do they mean?Thanks.
"Wait a minute. State tests are not standardized tests. They have not met
the criteria of reliability, validity and norms. We have lost our minds
with this testing mentality. It dictates curriculum. And yet, can we be
assured that the test designers have determined what needs to be measured?
" what is Watterson Elementry doing to raise rating "
"I truly appreciate this site. The rating is simply a number based on how
well the students in a particular school scored on state tests. Why is
there so many negative comments? Obviously better schools have better
teaching methods which produce better test scores! I have been
contemplating moving to another area of the state and I find this site
very useful. Thanks Great Schools!
"What do you mean "Economically disadvantaged"? What is the standard to
"its kinda funny how the rating is based on the test since my childs test
results are ommited because she is so far behind and get low grades and
the teachers and other adults will not work with my child at her needs of
learning. that is why my childs grade is not included. the ratings should
include parents input like how the child is getting the help they need to
suceed and how the child is being dealt with in situations like being
bullied or being treated by some teachers. we need more inputs from
parents on the rating of the schools so maybe something will be changed so
the teachers dont look bad by not stepping up and dealing with issues that
arrise in the school."
"I can get the same information that is used for ratings directly from each
state's Department of Education website. However, the state websites do
not provide a link to buying a home. At least not yet. . ."
"again you are taking Southmoor Elementary, Denver, Co. scores on the whole
school. this school runs a highly gifted class for each grade thus when
they figured the scores all classes are used andof course that raises the
score. Try using just the regular classrooms and see where the score is,
i am sure it won't be as high."
"Do you seriously think most kids from the low income,broken homes and
drugs infested streets have better test scores than kids from well
educated, professional,and family oriented type of neighborhoods ? Go to
the schools with the low rating and the schools with high rating, and find
out for yourself.
"Everyone is freaking out about how they do their rating system but none of
them are taking into consideration that they also list test score averages
AND parents comments about the schools. Everyone has to look at the whole
picture, not just focus on one thing. The rating that is given is only a
very small part of what you should be considering when choosing your
"Oregon OAKS testing is not standardized testing. It's a benchmark test of what a panel thinks is appropriate to know at a given grade. The NAEP test is a standardized test used nationally starting at grade four."
"I also believe that basing a school's rating just off the standardized
testing scores is not the best way to rate. What I don't agree with is the
comments that say GreatSchools are biased towards rich schools. "
"In reviewing the 'GreatSchools' site, it is my belief that this is a piece
of propaganda that works well with the concept of basing a school on a
test. This is disappointing. I will be forwarding this information to my
friends. I hope that you will find the correct information on CT schools
and other state schools in the future. I will be unsubscribing from your
e-mails. I hope that in the future you will provide accurate information."
"It seems that a lot of folks are unhappy with the way the ratings are
calculated. Also, I noticed that some of you think that schools that
receive a rating of 8 or higher are 'rich' schools. If you connect to the
website www.cares.com (this is for Missouri) or any other online
demographics map that you are able to break down by income you will see
that the schools that receive high ratings are not necessarily high income
areas. I'm from a very poor community and the school that my daughter
will be attending next year has a rating of 8. I don't believe that the
testing used tells all about a school but I do think if the majority of
the students are able to achieve high grades then they must be learning
"While I do agree with other postings that standardized testing alone
should not be a sole determination of how your website calculates a school
scores. I think parent involvement,staff communication with parents,
teachers professionalism, principals leadership...all of those items could
be potentially included...
However I will say when I moved to a new area in my city I checked the
schools in my daughters district for ONE particular school their test
scores and that school scored about a 93% in all AIMS test and you rated
it a 10...I decided to move her to this school based a visit to the school
and yours and other school based scores....WOW am I glad I did. Her old
school was a complete mess and now she is in an excelling school and not
in an underperforming underfunded school. With that being said THANK you
So I am happy with your site and keep up the scores and information...!!!"
"If you would realy do the homework MPS are not rated that well.Most
parents dont have a chose where they can put there kids in schools.MPS
just foces on one thing and its how your child looks and if they are up to
there standerds! and if you dont have some what of money they you have no
right to give out your opinion. say if they are wanting to put school
uniform's and they call parents and aske if they approv and the parents
say no they would say we will call you back when you have more time to
think about it and if they still say no they will say somthing like will
most parents want it. even if its not true! do you know why they closed
down Powlle Jr high? the real truth is that they were one of the worst
schools they were not meeting states req and so befor the state took over
they closed the school down and made it in to a education center so that
they will look like they are doing great and that the public wont find
out. I used to work for MPS and i still have close fri!
ends and fam working there. everything is online you just have to have
the time to look at what the reals scores are and what the parents are
"my daughter is attending school 29 since pre k and I can say this is an
excellent school. Teachers are very professionals and kind with children
and they learn a lot.My daughter really love this school and my wife and
me are very happy about our little girl attending her first school years
here. thanks school's 29 team."
"The GreatSchools Rating is completely meaningless. It should be removed
from the site altogether. Newsweek named Columbia Heights Education Campus
(Bell Multicultural HS) #77 overall in the entire US and #12 in the DC
metropolitan area. GreatSchools Rating: 4 out of 10. This site is only
good for finding the private school Obama sent his kids to."
"As parents and grandparents we have a voice. I never knew what this test
was for, but after looking at scores I realized those voicing a concern as
to home values increasing the scores is correct. Perhaps it's time for
parents to step in and say no more nationwide..."
"Like many standardized tests, crts, do not take into account the starting
point of a child's knowledge. Individual growth is far more important
than schools state ranking. This becomes even more important when dealing
with Title 1 schools. MAP testing is a truer measure of a schools
accademic worth because it shows how much an individual student has grown
in math, language, etc. in a year. I believe many of the schools which
received lower rankings had children with far lower academic starting
points than those receiving higher rankings. Give props the fantastic
teachers and schools who don't care how much money you have or the part of
town you live in, but instead focus on teaching to an individuals level
and in turn pushing for personal growth and responsibility"
"I absolutely think the site favour areas where rich people lives rather
than the overall. I am glad I do not have to base this site to my
"If you are 'not for profit,' why are there ads (and annoying pop-ups)on
"I am probably preaching to the choir. But seriously, how do you come up
with your overall ratings. If you say you are going strictly by the
standarized test scores then the a majority of the schools in my district
should have an 8 or higher. All of our schools have exceed state and a
national expectations. And yet only the 'rich' schools got an 8 or
higher. The schools that have high diversity scored 6 or lower. Seems a
little suspect to me. Schools that got Blue Ribbon Honors from Washington
year and year out received low overall scores. This site actually
FRIGHTENS me. In our part of the world we are fighting 'white flight' on
an hourly basis and you just added fuel to the fire. I just had a family
tell me they are moving out my school district because you gave it a 6 and
Blue Valley a 9. Good luck with finding anyone who is not white in Blue
Valley!!!! This is just another website fueling the racist card once
again. And this SADDENS ME!!!!!!!! And really not!
for profit and you have all this advertising. How much are you getting
paid in Sr management? Seriously, if NETFLIX pops up on my screen one
more time and I have to close out their tab I think I will scream. It
saddens me that a family I know is going to make a home purchase based on
false information. It just amazes me as the property values increase the
school overall rating increases. WOW!
"GreatSchools Rating is 1 through 10 and is 1 being the best ?"
"I want to know where the WASL test is gettting the information about the
families income? Im reasearching schools in my area and one of the issues
I had was the fact that students were being rated based on they're parents
income! Really! But really, where do they get this informtion? Is it from
the students or from the parents. We are not economically challenged or
Low income as the two categories were put, however the school of interest
to me is said to give a rating of a 2 to low income children vs. an 8 to
'not economically challenged' students. I beleive we fall into the 'not
economically challenged' category but should I be worried about that!?
Where does this perticular information come from? "
"When looking at a school rating, please be aware that the rating generated
from standardized tests scores are sometimes initially incorrect. Make
sure you follow up and note any changes..."
"What does an ethnicity rating mean under category? The school that I was
looking at had one ethnicity and then a grade of 9 assigned to it. What
does that mean?"
"Good teaching is ongoing and should be occuring everyday of the school
year. Children are not learning to master a test. They should be applying
what they have learned to master the test, because they have been provided
with excellent teaching-
We need to focus on the quality of instruction and then the tests won't
consume the entire year with worry, prep and overall boredom-how about
some real interactive learning that can be applied in all areas?
The kids deserve the best!!!"
"Your explanations were very helpful. We are in the process of selling our
house (hopefully) and, judging by my daughter's school's (low) ratings,
will be looking elsewhere for another house.
"You should find out if other, nearby schools are in better shape. Usually
during the month of May-June, schools outside of your neighborhood will
accept applications for 'open enrollment' or 'out of the area enrollment',
based on first-come-first-served, sometimes by lottery of all applications
received during a certain period of time. You may also apply for
'opportunity transfer' because of the school's probation. In some
districts you can apply to a different school if your local school is
predominantly a race OTHER than yours, and would put your child in a
significant minority. You can apply to the school in the neighborhood of
your / your husband's job under 'work permit', even if it is a different
school district. Finally, you can apply to the neighborhood school where
your child will receive after-school childcare, even if grandparent or
relative, under 'child care permit'. "
"I am going to use your checklist and get back with you on my concerns."
A good first draft of the article, but your middle school teacher would
ask you where is your critical thinking and where is your voice.
The Article does not touch an several VERY important aspects of the
Here is a short summary:
The STAR test is presented as MANDATORY by most schools. it is NOT.
Parents can always opt out their kids from the test. And parents should
educate themselves as to why they want their kids in the test vs not in
The star test measures broadly and test scores can be seriously impacted
by teaching memorization techniques. Several high-scoring schools are
spending a LOT of time teaching to the tests in order to get better
There are several other tests such as the MARS test developed by the
Silicon Valley Math Initiative that measures comprehension. So these tests
goes far deeper than the STAR can go and they are scored based on the
result and on how the student obtained that result. Unlike the STAR the
MARS is scored by humans, so the students task in the test is to convince
the graders that they actually understand the questions.
Many high scoring STAR test schools that also participate in the MARS
often score poorly in the MARS - back to my point about memorization.
The STAR test is not used for Middle School, High-School nor College
placement nor applications.
Does that mean that a teacher at a school that wants to get a picture of a
student will not look at a the students test results - sure, but that only
shows one part of the picture.
A teacher once walked us through the test. Amazing number of objections to
the test and what it does to teaching. The best example is spelling.
The test provides the students with a list of words out of which only one
is spelled right. The student has to identify which one.
This teaches the student how to identify misspelled words, but does
ABSOLUTELY NOT teach the students how to spell on their own, and even less
how to write.
The only statistical proven correlation between STAR testing scores has
been to house pricing. So are we asking our kids to go through all this
trouble for housing pricing ?
Do we need a system to provide feedback to the teachers and administration
on how classrooms are doing. Surely - but the STAR is not that answer. Too
broad and does not measure comprehension so therefore not very suitable
for this purpose.
Many kids feels so pressured to take the test and are so stressed out over
the fact they have to perform well that they suffer from anxiety. Now ask
your self if this is right for elementary school kids.
The STAR test takes 2 weeks to administer with approximately 3 hours of
testing per day. 2 WEEKS of instruction time WASTED !!!!!
Imagine what your child could have learned by spending this time on say a
independent research project.
The STAR testing is EXPENSIVE. My school district spends approx $1M on the
testing. I ask how come we can afford to keep doing this with the
significant budget cuts that has been implemented across many states.
"My granddaughter (going into Kindergarten in the fall) has been assigned
to a school that is on academic probation with a rating of 3. Besides
private school, what are our options? Can we ask, based on the low
rating, to go to another school?"
"Draper, UT is now in the newly formed Canyons School District."
"I don't understand this rating system. If this is based off of state test
scores then how can a school with 80% of its students passing get a 1
rating while schools in the same area get a 6 with around 70% of students
passing and a 3 with a little over 50% of its students passing the
"I presently teach at Ingram Elementary School and would like like to know
who did the ratings for our school. A 4 is so totally off the stae
ratings that I have to laugh. So could you please tell me who does the
ratings and what you used to compile your information. It is totally
"Please, enough already. This website is a TOOL! If you are not willing to
do the work yourself, don't complain. There is not going to be a free site
available that is going to be all things to all people. Accept the fact
that this is a tool, only a tool and nothing but a tool. Do your research,
write letters, make phone calls; then make an INFORMED decision based on
all the available data. Don't depend on anybody else to make this decision
for you. End of story!"
"There's so much more than test scores to rate a school or school system.
What about the way children are treated and handled? Are they encouraged
to explore their individuality or punished for it? Schools in these times
have gotten far from their intent...to TEACH. I would not rate DePere
schools highly. Alas, focus is away from teaching a student. If this
keeps up, everyone will start resorting to home school...and why not?"
" The school ratings from test results are extremely low in comparison
to school ratings from parent reviews. If GreatSchools' mission is to
improve education, then it must raise awareness or acknowledge the issues
of assessment. Every parent wants their child to attend a 10 out of 10
rating school. So imagine all parents being influenced by GreatSchools
wanting to enroll their students in a 10 out of 10 rating school...
Realistically, there would not be enough schools to support such high
demands for enrollment. So, what does that mean for a parent whose child
attends a 3 out of 10 rating school? It means a slap in the face! Hence,
GreatSchools has many parent reviews and comments about the negative
impact that such ratings may have on them (the parents) and the schools.
If parent involvement is important to GreatSchools, then this
organization should address the concerns parents have raised about the
ratings and acknowledge the impact this may have on parents and schools."