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Consumer-Oriented School Rating Systems and Their Implications for Educational Equity

School ratings are a ubiquitous feature of the U.S. educational system. Alongside state-mandated measures of school performance, non-state organizations such as and Niche have created consumer-oriented systems of school ratings that draw on publicly available information about schools. Claiming the purpose of their rating systems is to help families navigate increasingly complex school choice options, these organizations present their ratings as authoritative sources of information. In the growing evidence base about consumer-oriented systems, there is consistent research showing that the measures that comprise school ratings are associated with schools’ demographic characteristics, such as students’ race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. This brief examines these consumer-oriented rating systems and their implications for educational equity, and provides recommendations to minimize potential harms.

Suggested Citation: Powers, J.M. (2023). Consumer-oriented school rating systems and their implications. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from