So, I got a surprise when I woke up the other day and saw that George C Marshall High School overnight had turned into an average school for the area (their GreatSchools rating had dropped from a stellar 9 to an average 7.) At first I wasn’t sure what happened – did they fire a bunch of teachers and thereby changing the student to teacher ratio? Did the construction result in all the good students leaving? Did they cancel their IB program? Did the Marshall Statesmen loose all their games?
Nope. Wasn’t anything like that. It would seem that all that happened was that the 2012-2013 standardized test scores were loaded into GreatSchools.org and all the ratings recalculated using those. This resulted in some schools previously rated 10 and 9 dropping 2 or 3 points. A few increased as well.
Here are the old and new scores for some schools in the area.
(out of 10)
(out of 10)
|Thomas Jefferson Elementary||10||7|
|Lemon Road Elementary||9||8|
|Timber Lane Elementary School||7||7|
|Graham Road Elementary School||5||6|
|Westlawn Elementary School||5||6|
|Chesterbrook Elementary School||10||7|
|Spring Hill elementary School||10||7|
|Sherman Elementary School||9||8|
|Kent Gardens Elementary School||9||8|
|Churchill Rd Elementary School||9||8|
|Westgate Elementary School||9||7|
|Kilmer Middle School||10||8|
|Longfellow Middle School||10||8|
|Henderson Middle School||8||8|
|Cooper Middle School||10||9|
|George C Marshall High School||9||7|
|George Mason High School||9||9|
|Falls Church High School||5||7|
|Langley High School||9||8|
|McLean High School||9||7|
Per GreatSchools.org the overall GreatSchools Rating is on a 1-10 scale and is categorized as follows:
1-3 = “Below average,” 4-7 = “Average,” 8-10 = “Above average.”
There is much more to a school than standardized test scores and parents should consider all those factors (in Washington DC for example, the GreatSchools.org scores is supposedly determined based on test scores, student growth and, if high school, college readiness.)
Will we see buying patterns change based on these score changes? Possibly. We as agents don’t recommend specific schools and tell parents that the right school varies based on the child. With few other metrics to initially gauge a school apart from just general reputation (and agents often unable to recommend a specific schools,) GreatSchools.org and similar sites play a large role in forming the perception of parents.