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Old 08-29-2018, 03:46 PM
DKM
 
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
6,785 posts, read 2,864,323 times
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If you're looking for high schools, US news uses a college readiness index that is great (if college is your goal). Newsweek also uses sound methodology. Niche is good too if you are looking for a certain subset of data but like someone else said, their SAT and ACT scores are self reported. Greatschools is garbage because they skew the scores to certain metrics without explaining it and to be more "fair". this is because greatschools is tied to many real estate searching engines. They used to produce color coded maps but that's unfair in our attempt at equal society so they dropped using it.

If you are looking for more test score based rankings, schooldigger is the place for that and they will give you accurate boundary maps too.

Some people are against this information being available so they come up with reasons to downplay the significance, but I would ignore them. You are not wrong wanting to stack the odds in your kids favor.
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Old 08-29-2018, 05:52 PM
 
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As many have pointed out these sites are not super useful. In addition to the problems others have mentioned there are also problems by state. Looking at the school I teach at we have an abysmal score for tests despite doing well in every other category and having a fantastic "College Readiness" score... Turns out they are using the state assessments and not SAT... The ones Colorado has repeatedly changed without much warning every other year... The state tests have a horrible reputation and we have had up to 70% opt out rates in previous years and the students whose parents don't call them out REALLY don't try. Not a good sample size nor high in reliability.
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Old 08-29-2018, 05:53 PM
 
Location: A coal patch in Northern Appalachia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
There is another issue that you need to consider with test scores. There can be outside influences. Our local schools had a sudden significant drop in test scores one year. It seemed odd. It made the rankings fall considerably. I delved into this, were our schools falling apart?

No. Prom or some such was the night before the test that year. The kids were all distracted, tired, hung over etc. or at least enough of them were that the average of the test scores dropped considerably. Something wrong with he school? Well only in that someone was dumb enough to allow prom or homecoming or whatever it was (I no longer remember) the night before the test.
So what test was this? I'm a little skeptical of your story. Proms are usually on a Friday night, occasionally on a Saturday night. I have heard of a few schools that have scheduled their prom on a Thursday with no school the next day. Many school have a post-prom and students are out all night. I was. My date and I had breakfast before I took her home.

The only test given on a Saturday are the SAT and ACT. There would only be one Saturday in May where there might be a conflict, and few high school students take the SAT/ACT in May. Most high school administrators would still try to avoid a potential conflict.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PamelaIamela View Post
The ultimate success of your children's education has more to do with the quality of the child and the values of the parents than the statistically rated 'quality' of the school.
Yes, we all know that. The point is the OP wants to still pick the best school for his children. The fact is, a statistically highly rated school will usually provide a better education than a statistically poorly rated school.
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Old 08-29-2018, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
So what test was this? I'm a little skeptical of your story. Proms are usually on a Friday night, occasionally on a Saturday night. I have heard of a few schools that have scheduled their prom on a Thursday with no school the next day. Many school have a post-prom and students are out all night. I was. My date and I had breakfast before I took her home.

The only test given on a Saturday are the SAT and ACT. There would only be one Saturday in May where there might be a conflict, and few high school students take the SAT/ACT in May. Most high school administrators would still try to avoid a potential conflict.



Yes, we all know that. The point is the OP wants to still pick the best school for his children. The fact is, a statistically highly rated school will usually provide a better education than a statistically poorly rated school.
Of course it was the SAT or ACT, that is what they base most of the ratings on (I think the SAT, but I am not sure which they were focused on at the time, it changed from ACT to SAT in Michigan a few years ago).

Your logic escapes me. Yo say you are doubtful because big dances are in Friday nights and the SAT and ACT are on Saturday. So how could it possibly have been the night before. You do know that Friday comes the day before Saturday do you not? Thus Friday night is necessarily the night before Saturday.


As I said I do not recall whether it was prom or homecoming or some other big dance/party event in the late fall. I know they have a late fall formal party/dance and a late spring formal party/dance (I know this from paying for dresses). One of them is prom the other might be homecoming or it might be called something else, I do not care enough about the names of dances to bother remembering. Once I discovered the reason for the drop in test scores, it no longer interested me much and I certainly did not memorize the details for the next three, or five, or eight years. I do not even remember which of our five kids it pertained to, just that it was one year before they took the SAT and ACT. I am pretty sure it was one of the middle kids, because the older ones, I think the school was consistently top rated. I think the dip came later, but I am uncertain. Other than the fact that it happened, the details are of no interest to me and not worth remembering.

Actually a statistically high rated school will NOT always provide a better education. It means little more than the students peers are likely t be pressed hard by their parents to excel in school, probably have tutoring available and probably take a test prep course (which makes a huge difference in scores). it really says little to nothing about how good the education is at that school. It certainly does not mean they have the best teachers. Frequently the best teachers end up at the poorly performing schools. Anyone can teach good motivated students to do well. There is no challenge. My son had a terrible teacher for one of his AP classes learned nothing in class, but still got a 4 or 5 because he spent the time to read the book and do some internet research so he could pass (Plus my wife brought him an AP test prep book ont he subject from the library). It takes a superstar to motivate and teach poor performing students and make them do well.

A school with a terrible atmosphere for that particular child is not providing them a good education. If an atmosphere of fierce and ruthless competition leaves your child depressed, and uninterested/hating school, not focused, not learning as much as they otherwise could, the school is not providing them a good education no matter how good the test score may be for other students. Put that same child in a more relaxed learning environment and they suddenly excel float into college on scholarships. Which school provided them a better education?

We have been in poorly performing schools and in awesome performing schools. All schools have good, bad and great teachers. The net education they receive is basically the same. It is what they do with it that make the difference in performance rankings. Some of our kids reached their full learning potential in a highly competitive atmosphere, while others struggled to learn in that atmosphere, but excelled when in a more relaxed place where the other kids were not all speaking eight languages and playing violin by age seven (only a slight exaggeration).

I realize this conflict with many people's world view. They want to believe in a simple formula. Pick the highest ranked school district and I am giving my kids the best possible education. I once fell for that mantra as well until I grew wiser through experience. Unfortunately it does not work that way. It is far more complex and takes way more effort than that.

Last edited by Coldjensens; 08-29-2018 at 06:53 PM..
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Old 08-29-2018, 06:47 PM
 
Location: A coal patch in Northern Appalachia
7,744 posts, read 8,348,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Of course it was the SAT or ACT, that is what they base most of the ratings on (I think the SAT, but I am not sure which they were focused on at the time, it changed from ACT to SAT in Michigan a few years ago).

Your logic escapes me. Yo say you are doubtful because big dances are in Friday nights and the SAT and ACT are on Saturday. So how could it possibly have been the night before. You do know that Friday comes the day before Saturday do you not? Thus Friday night is necessarily the night before Saturday.

As I said I do not recall whether it was prom or homecoming or some other big dance/party event in the late fall. I know they have a late fall formal party/dance and a late spring formal party/dance (I know this from paying for dresses). One of them is prom the other might be homecoming or it might be called something else, I do not care enough about the names of dances to bother remembering. Once I discovered the reason for the drop in test scores, it no longer interested me much and I certainly did not memorize the details for the next three, or five, or eight years. I do not even remember which of our five kids it pertained to, just that it was one year before they took the SAT and ACT. I am pretty sure it was one of the middle kids, because the older ones, I think the school was consistently top rated. I think the dip came later, but I am uncertain. Other than the fact that it happened, the details are of no interest to me and not worth remembering.
Poor management on the part of the administration to schedule a dance before the day that most juniors take the SAT/ACT!
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Old 08-29-2018, 06:51 PM
 
9,920 posts, read 6,118,218 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
...The only test given on a Saturday are the SAT and ACT. There would only be one Saturday in May where there might be a conflict, and few high school students take the SAT/ACT in May. Most high school administrators would still try to avoid a potential conflict.

...:
Just as an aside, our school gives the ACT to all juniors sometime in April I believe. It's given during the week since it's a mandatory test. There is a push to drop the state standardized tests and just use the ACT since they take it anyway.

As for the OP's main question, I think more important than the school statistics are the statistics/demographics of the parents in the school district. Are they upper/middle/lower economic class? What is the percentage college degree/advanced degree/no degree? More than anything else, parents who are themselves successful, and who have advanced education expect the same from their kids and expect the schools to provide a quality education. They expect their kids to learn and to behave.

As best I can tell, those parents don't care too much about school rankings and standardized tests; they care about results. And if the school is producing good results, then it's a good school.
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Old 08-29-2018, 07:40 PM
 
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Hi! Wow great feedback! I’ve been at work all day and will process all of this! Thank you!!!
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Old 08-29-2018, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Honolulu, HI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Everyone wants an easy solution. There isn't one. Statistical web sites are not the answer to your kids educational needs and are really barely even relevant.
Not if you don't have the time to visit every single public and private school in the area. Greatschools is a small snapshot/window that provides information about a school you otherwise would have no idea about.

The rankings are pretty simple, if it's 9 or 10 the school is good. However you should understand that in public schools your kids will be in massive classes with low paid teachers who don't have the time or resources to individually cater to every student.

If the school is 8 or lower, then you know it's just average and you should probably stay away.

Either way, it's hard to beat private schools who will have much smaller classrooms, much stricter standards for acceptance, and much more involved students, faculty, and parents.

Most of us are products of average public schools and can vividly recall how big the classes were, how average the education was, and how many class disruptions went on by the future burger flipper of society.

That life expercine should be enough for any parent to accurately judge what school can or can't provide the education needs of their children along with the statistical website research and in-person meetings. But you can't just look at one angle, you have to look at the whole picture. Statistics and number are apart of that picture. The racial makeup of a school a lone can often tell you off the bat if the school is good or bad.

I've looked over hundreds of schools and numbers don't lie. Teachers lie, principals lie, students lie, but number don't lie.

Last edited by Rocko20; 08-29-2018 at 10:22 PM..
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:19 AM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
18,948 posts, read 13,892,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocko20 View Post
Not if you don't have the time to visit every single public and private school in the area. Greatschools is a small snapshot/window that provides information about a school you otherwise would have no idea about.

The rankings are pretty simple, if it's 9 or 10 the school is good. However you should understand that in public schools your kids will be in massive classes with low paid teachers who don't have the time or resources to individually cater to every student.

If the school is 8 or lower, then you know it's just average and you should probably stay away.

Either way, it's hard to beat private schools who will have much smaller classrooms, much stricter standards for acceptance, and much more involved students, faculty, and parents.

Most of us are products of average public schools and can vividly recall how big the classes were, how average the education was, and how many class disruptions went on by the future burger flipper of society.

That life expercine should be enough for any parent to accurately judge what school can or can't provide the education needs of their children along with the statistical website research and in-person meetings. But you can't just look at one angle, you have to look at the whole picture. Statistics and number are apart of that picture. The racial makeup of a school a lone can often tell you off the bat if the school is good or bad.

I've looked over hundreds of schools and numbers don't lie. Teachers lie, principals lie, students lie, but number don't lie.
Oh......? Is that a fact? Please, oh please, elaborate on that.
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
29,759 posts, read 72,549,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocko20 View Post
I've looked over hundreds of schools and numbers don't lie. Teachers lie, principals lie, students lie, but number don't lie.
Yes the numbers tell you how good the school is at teaching kids to take tests. Not much else.
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