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Find high-quality Public K-12 schools that you might otherwise overlook.


Did you know there is more than one way to evaluate test scores as an indicator of school quality? Today's ratings utilize the Proficiency Model. SchoolSparrow is different because we utilize the Value-Add Model.

The proficiency model compares raw test scores between schools, and ratings are calculated based on how a school compares to the average test score for the state in which the school is located. For example, if Illinois has an average test score of 57 (57% of the students are deemed proficient), then, generally speaking, schools that have average test scores above 57 will have higher ratings, and schools with scores below 57 will have lower ratings.

The value-add model adjusts for factors that influence test scores, but are outside the control of schools; such as parent education and income. Research has shown that student performance on standardized tests are primarily attributed to parent affluence, not school quality. When accounting for each school's socioceonomic profile, thousands of schools that are currently portrayed as low quality by the proficiency model, are recognized as high quality institutions by the value-add model. As a result, some of the best public schools, where there is a strong culture of inclusion and excellence, with high morale, low teacher turnover, and students that are beating expectations, are being overlooked by home buyers.

When making the biggest investment of their lives, we believe home buyers should be allowed to see a more balanced view of school quality, so they can make a more informed purchase decision.


Standardized test results are just one small factor to consider when evaluating if a school is a good fit for your family, and perhaps not really that important a factor.

However, if you are going to consider test scores, you should be aware that there is more than one way to evaluate test scores as an indicator of school quality.


Parents deserve more fair and balanced information about student performance when making the biggest investment of their lives.

That's why we've developed a rating system that uses data science to account for the huge impact that parent incomes have on student test scores.

Our ratings tend to elevate school's that have diversity. This is because the powerful impact that parental affluence has on test scores. The proficiency model gives the highest ratings to homogenous schools where all the parents have high incomes, because these are the schools that are posting the highest test scores. Our value add model gives the highest ratings to schools where the school community is having the most impact on student performance instead of socioconomic factors.

Balanced Data

We control for factors beyond the control of schools and students, like parent income.

Diversity Factors

A diverse community is key to a child’s development. We have a system that identifies high quality schools that also have diversity..

Real Quality

Great schools aren’t just found in high-income zip codes. We help you find real quality schools in any zip code.


School ratings influence where people decide to buy homes. Those communities that have low ratings on the proficiency model, but high ratings on the value-add model, stand to see more economic vitality through more housing demand.

When it comes to economic development, low school ratings can undermine other efforts aimed at attracting and retaining residents. Particularly when moving to a new community, parents want a score of 7 or better or they won't consider the school and the homes and neighborhood the school serves.

Consider the City of Boston, where the established rating system indicates only two elementary schools that rate a 7 or above in Boston. Our Value-Add ratings identify dozens of elementary schools in Boston that should rate between 7 and 10. For those parents that believe the Value-Add model is right for their family, suddenly affordable areas closer to work become real options.




“I was absolutely overjoyed to hear that LSES made the Top 30 in the metro Atlanta area. For the past 13 years, the school, its students, staff, and community have been my heart and my reason for getting up every day. While many leaders at high poverty schools complain about the lack of parental support, I had parents who made their children’s education a top priority.

Over 30% of the student body speak a language other than English at home and I always told them that they were smarter than the average kids because not only were they learning to read, write, and compute but they were also learning English at the same time. The kids are amazing!! I also attribute much of the growth that the students made over the years to the fact that we are a family. While we might look different and might not be related, we are family. We celebrated our differences along with the various cultures and languages represented among the students and staff. Our diversity makes us stronger!”

-Mr. Marchant, Principal, Douglas County School System


Are your schools being portrayed fairly to the public? You can take control of the narrative and help parents discover the true quality of your schools. You might know your schools are good, but perception is reality when it comes to people moving to your city.

"When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, schools are possibly the most important factor for a city and their economic development efforts. When school ratings are not truly rating the schools performance it can undercut everything that community is doing."

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Now you can help your clients make more informed decisions about school quality when considering a home purchase. Our partner agents can feature their listings on SchoolSparrow. In a listing presentation, that additional exposure could result in more listings falling your way, especially when the home is located in a school boundary that rates high on our system, but low on all the real estate search portals.

We might give preference to real estate agents that have their listings featured on SchoolSparrow, particularly when the schools that serve our developments are underrated.

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Is your school being portrayed fairly to the public? Perhaps your own school district is using straight test scores as a measure of student performance, and inadvertently underrating your performance as well. Now you can take control of the narrative and help parents and your school district recognize the quality of education at your school.

Thank you for the recognition in your article, it’s lifting the spirits of our staff today!

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Our data is truly different, and makes it easier for realtors to avoid common issues like steering as they help families find new homes. Founded by a real estate broker who experienced issues with the way families were being guided through the process of home-buying firsthand, our Value-Add model was developed to bring more transparency and fairness in our definitions of what makes a quality school.

Our school search data is completely free to all families and agents, but we do offer additional agent tools and training to help address systemic issues common in the process of purchasing a home.



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