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#1 of 15 Old 01-09-2014, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone know if the school digger website is fairly accurate with school rankings? Considering a move and want to avoid the poorly ranked schools.

 

I was able to find schools ranked in the top 10-200 for the state in the district of our choice near homes we like, but there's also schools that are ranked in the 400-600's by homes we like as well. 

 

Aside from greatschools and visiting schools in person, where else can you find information on school quality, test scores and what not.

 

Insight?

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#2 of 15 Old 01-10-2014, 04:26 AM
 
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I don't know, but I"m going to check it out. I don't think I've ever heard of it!!


 
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#3 of 15 Old 01-10-2014, 07:46 AM
 
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#4 of 15 Old 01-10-2014, 08:06 AM
 
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School quality and test scores aren't necessarily the same thing in my opinion. I believe the sites like this offer rankings based on test scores, so if that's what's most important to you, it will probably be accurate for you.

 

My kids' elementary and middle schools do not rank highly in terms of test scores, but their education has been fine, and we've been very pleased with the arts programs. I know that our schools don't have the best reputation in town, but a lot of the stuff that's said about them is by people who have never stepped foot inside. Conversely, certain schools in the wealthier part of town are praised, but when I talk to some of the parents, it's not all it's cracked up to be. I would definitely try to speak to current parents at the schools you are thinking about besides doing the regular tour.


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#5 of 15 Old 01-10-2014, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For sure, quality and test scores are two different things. I want a school to have good testing scores but I don't want my kids to be a robot and fed data. Sure they may absorb the information while being "taught to the test" but I'm not sure what's on the tests even matters. What happens when you don't know anyone who has kids who attend said schools? I happen to know some people who have their kids at one of the highest ranked schools in the but I hear they don't do anything really fun, school spirit wise. It's a trade off I guess. With a move though I'd at least like to have an idea on school performance and not just move blindly.

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#6 of 15 Old 01-11-2014, 01:03 PM
 
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I think Schooldigger and Greatschools totally stink as a parent resource. I would not even consider their rankings. I'd to to the local paper, the local school boards and even here in the tribal section instead. 


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#7 of 15 Old 01-11-2014, 01:14 PM
 
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Our school board, for instance publishes things like: FARMs rate, Racial demographics, suspension rate, absentee rates, test scores, % of children with disabilities, parent and student satisfaction rates for every school. These stats, along with speaking with a principal and going on a tour can give you a pretty decent picture of the school. For instance, if you find a school with super impressive test scores and a demographic of students that is pretty representative of the diversity of your town, you can talk with the principal on their philosophy on curriculum and testing.   


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#8 of 15 Old 01-11-2014, 06:08 PM
 
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It varies a lot by state. Our state has test scores in one website and another website that gives a numerical rating. The commercial sites take that data and combine it with additional data and parent/troll commentary. Our local listings on great schools are not bad actually but in the higher tiers parental comments are ranked too highly I think.

 

For our school, you'd want to look at the state data to determine that our school gives an excellent education to a diverse population unlike the other school down the road giving an excellent education to a non-diverse population.

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#9 of 15 Old 01-11-2014, 06:30 PM
 
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I checked Great Schools against my city's stats - they are not accurate. The student to teacher ratio are off by a lot. Also the rankings are nonsensical. My DC's elementary scored a 4/10 with all 5 stars for parent review. This school is way smaller than other schools in the area, smaller class sizes, very good test scores and operates a long waiting list for admission every year. How they got a 4/10 is beyond me.  

 

School Digger is useless in my area because they rank schools by the state. I clicked on a few of the graphs for my DC's schools and individually the graphs seem accurate (and reflect the school in a positive way) but the way the information is complied is just totally meaningless for my city...unless anyone cares to note how a public school in a struggling city ranks against elite private schools and other public in the state with the best overall rankings for education. 

 

If I made up the rules, I'd make these websites offer a disclaimer that prospective parents are better off looking at this totally public information themselves and make their own conclusions that reflect their values and situations. 


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#10 of 15 Old 01-12-2014, 11:27 AM
 
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I like 'great schools'. It reports accurate public data in an easy to use format. The actual ratings are based on standardized tests. This may or may not be something that your family values. That being said, I look at each school's demographics, and test scores for specific subjects and grades. Personally, I find 10th grade math scores valuable measures of a successful school system. Only 10% of 10th graders score at or above a 10th grade level at the local high school. Nearly 100% of 10th graders at DD's school are proficient. For me, math proficiency in high school is extremly important. The site also breaks down Title 1 schools (those who have a higher percentage of kids who qualify for financial assistance).

From what I recall of the 'school digger' site, it relies primarily on parent imput and comments. This is probably most helpful for ruling out schools with many complaints.

I don't know, I think it's a good resource for people moving to a new area. At least it gives you a place to start. I think its definately worth following up with a visit before choosing a school.


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#11 of 15 Old 01-12-2014, 11:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

I like 'great schools'. It reports accurate public data in an easy to use format. 

Except I cross-checked their data with my DC's schools and it isn't accurate.  I know when looking at data for picking a middle school our close friend (and local admin) recommended that we also look at stats over the course of a few years and see how schools are doing to move kids from proficient to advanced. 

 

As far as Title I, I checked and, again, Great Schools incorrectly lists my DC's current school as a Title I school.   


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#12 of 15 Old 01-12-2014, 04:13 PM
 
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The info is correct for many of the schools in my area. It maintains data back several years, which is also quite useful. Definately helps to look at test score data over time. Like I said though, it is a tool to start your search if you are new to an area. It might point you in the direction of a great school, or keep you out of a failing/dangerous one. I wouldn't use it to ultimately make a decision.


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#13 of 15 Old 01-14-2014, 08:44 AM
 
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Comparing schooldigger to my state, I'd say no it's not accurate. Greatschools looks more in line with what I know about our area. However, I definitely think that neither site really can give a full picture. Our state department of education publishes all test results for schools. I'd start with the state dept of education and then branch out to city-data or other resources.


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#14 of 15 Old 01-14-2014, 07:13 PM
 
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My kids attend an International Leadership Magnet STEM school - it is also a Title 1 school.  The test scores are decent for being a Title 1 school, but we are not at the top test school in our district.  Personally, I'm fine with that, because my friends who have kids at the top school have kids who are stressed.  My kids are getting an amazing curriculum and the wait list is hundreds deep for each grade because school is more than test scores.  

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#15 of 15 Old 01-20-2014, 08:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
 

I checked Great Schools against my city's stats - they are not accurate. The student to teacher ratio are off by a lot. .....

 

School Digger is useless in my area because they rank schools by the state. I clicked on a few of the graphs for my DC's schools and individually the graphs seem accurate (and reflect the school in a positive way) but the way the information is complied is just totally meaningless for my city...unless anyone cares to note how a public school in a struggling city ranks against elite private schools and other public in the state with the best overall rankings for education. 

 

 

Same here. Also, private schools seem to submit their own data, so it can be what they would LIKE it to be, rather than what it is.

 

Worst than useless.

 

Some states require schools to include their "school report card" on their web site, some states publish this info for the whole state on a central website.

 

Also, talk to people -- if you have family there or are considering relocating for work, talk to people in the same industry. Use the "tribal" area here on mothering.

 

Also, for my city, the highest ranked district has a medium home value of >500K, with a few crappy houses starting around the 250K mark. There are lots of wonderful schools in other districts with reasonable priced housing, but unless one has a lot of money, getting hung up on the rankings is a recipe for unhappiness.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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