News Update

GreatSchools won’t be using 2020 or 2021 testing data in its ratings

GreatSchools, the Oakland-based website that rates K-12 public schools nationally, announced that it will not be using testing data from 2020 or 2021.

“The cancellation of standardized testing in 2020 and the partial resumption in 2021 has produced two years of nonexistent or, at best, incomplete data,” wrote Orville Jackson, vice president of data strategy at GreatSchools, in a piece for The 74.

Student participation in testing varied widely from state to state from 97% in Mississippi to 23% in California, Jackson noted. Even in states where there was high participation in testing, it has not been clear which groups are represented. GreatSchools was concerned that highest-need students, who suffered most from pandemic learning disruptions, may not be represented well or at all in the data.

2019 testing data is the most recent available on its popular if controversial school profiles for now, but the company says it plans to use 2022 testing data when it arrives. Jackson notes that GreatSchools has been incorporating more recent school data in its profiles on subjects such as school climate.

GreatSchools said it is calling on state education agencies to prioritize school climate data and also to disaggregate testing data as it arrives.

“Combining reliable and valid outcomes data — particularly data rooted in equity — and new information about climate, school practices and parent perspectives will give parents more of what they need to obtain a better picture of school quality today,” Jackson wrote.

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