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SchoolMatters.com: Grading the Schools

School Matters
August 24, 2006 · Print · Email

Approaching its 18-month anniversary, SchoolMatters.com makes the grade, in our book. In fact, we’d give the fairly comprehensive site - a service of Standard & Poor’s - all A’s for its relevance to educators, policy makers, parents, analysts, and municipal investors.

From information on the state of education in the U.S. or a specific state, SchoolMatters.com provides a snapshot view of key education performance indicators. The site is a great resource for data pertaining to a specific school or district, as well as a handy tool for comparison between up to five schools (or districts).

In addition to student performance as measured by standardized test scores, the site provides demographic information for communities served by the school or district, as well as revenue and expenditure figures and return indicators.

The site offers a particularly helpful section designed to make parents “educated consumers” through tips on how to use this data to measure school performance, evaluate a given district, or even prepare for a school board meeting.

In the first two weeks of August, the site received over 275,000 visits, according to Susan Shafer, Director of Marketing and Communications for Standard & Poors. For now, there are no plans to assign schools or districts any type of “grade” or ranking. “We prefer to let users view all the information on their school or district and then make their own informed decision about performance,” says Ms. Shafer.

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