Elementary School Rankings: SchoolSparrow 2.0 Aims to Go Beyond Test Scores

In the upcoming months SchoolSparrow, a site I’ve written about previously, is going to be relaunching in Chicago with a completely new interface and new features. As reported by Chicago Magazine, SchoolSparrow is a niche real estate website that enables parents to find affordable homes in quality school districts. The new site will be launching with an intense focus on establishing itself as an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the schools and homes in their surrounding area.

SchoolSparrow’s current site enables Chicago residents to view CPS School Rankings which are generated by examining historical ISAT scores (in aggregate as well as by grade). While many parents, state officials, and even education consultants use

WBEZ-Radio-Interview-with-SchoolSparrow-Founder

NPR’s Interview with the Founder of SchoolSparrow

test scores as the one and only factor when considering a school’s quality, Tom Brown, the website’s founder, recognizes they don’t tell the whole story. In fact, Tom learned when he first started this site back in 2012 what a hot topic test scores can be when he was invited to participate in a segment on WBEZ 91.5 Chicago to discuss the power of SchoolSparrow. You’ll note that at the 11 minute mark that a caller named George raises a very fair point that our society has an unhealthy obsession with test scores. He goes on to comment that he believes that individuals and entities that promote the use of test scores to evaluate elementary schools or to create public school rankings are only serving to perpetuate this issue.

As such, the new site, which will be launching in the next few months, aims to become a one stop shop for all available data on Chicago public schools. Further, the site will be using this data and other research to generate quality and insightful content to further educate current and/or expecting parents on some of the other factors one should consider when evaluating whether or not a particular school is the right fit for their child. The new site plans to leverage these insights to generate a new metric for schools – one that will consider a great deal more than the problematic and often controversial factor that is test scores. If you have any questions about the upcoming release, feel free to write the site’s founder at tom.brown@schoolsparrow.com and be sure to check the @schoolsparrow twitter account for updates.

 

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About SchoolSparrow

I created SchoolSparrow after a frustrating search for a home where a good school was our primary concern. Realtors often don't list the schools that are assigned to a home in the MLS, and as a result the School search filter does not return accurate results. SchoolSparrow fixed this problem, and also layered in performance data so the MLS could be searched by properties that are in high performaning school boundaries.
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