People’s evaluation of their local schools correlates with student performance on proficiency tests, concludes Grading Schools, a study by Harvard researchers published in the fall issue of Education Next .
Although citizens also appear to take into account the share of a school’s students who are poor when evaluating its quality, those considerations do not overwhelm judgments based on information about academic achievement.
Respondents evaluate schools based on state tests and look at overall achievement, not students’ progress, the study found. Elementary schools received higher grades than middle schools.
Low-income and minority citizens are just as informed about school quality as other citizens, writes researcher Martin West in a summary.