Posted on March 18, 2022
Categories: News from SDP

Today, the School District of Philadelphia released a series of research briefs that take an in-depth look at ninth-grade admissions for the 2022-23 school year, resulting from this year’s School Selection Process (SSP).

The 2021-22 School Selection brief, 8th Grade Student Qualifications and Applications to 9th Grade, explores the early phases of the School Selection Process for eighth graders who enrolled in District schools and who met qualification levels (this does not include external applicants, including students enrolled in charter schools). The second 2021-22 School Selection brief focuses strictly on outcomes of the lottery process and the distribution of initial offers of ninth grade admission across all criteria-based high schools and programs.

“We are proud of the improvements that we’ve made so far in the School Selection Process. These results show that we are making progress to ensure a more equitable School Selection Process, one that provides opportunities for students who haven’t historically received the opportunity to attend specific criteria-based schools,” said William R. Hite, Ed.D., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.

Findings from both reports include:

  • 3,993 District eighth graders submitted at least one fully eligible application to a criteria-based school, and 85.7% of those students received at least one lottery-based offer to a criteria-based school.
  • At four criteria-based schools, the percent of offers extended to students residing in one of six prioritized zip codes was higher than in prior years in which those zip codes were not prioritized.
  • Lottery offers were randomly distributed, as expected. Eligible applicants belonging to different student groups were equally likely to receive admission offers through the lottery.

In the fall of the 2021-22 school year, changes were made to the SSP particularly in regards to rising ninth graders applying to criteria-based high schools for the 2022-23 school year. Major changes included removing Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) admission criteria-based, revising tiers of course grade requirements, using central office-managed lotteries to allocate initial offers of admission, using two years of student data (due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this practice was first put in place for the 2020-21 SSP, and was retained for 2021-22) and prioritizing seats for student groups, including students who are receiving special education services, have a physical disability plan, are English Learners, and who live in six priority zip codes.

The District will continue to examine this year’s school selection process. Future 2021-22 School Selection reports will examine admission offers extended to students after the waitlist process, student responses to admission offers and fall student enrollment in criteria-based schools.

The District will host town halls and in-person opportunities to continue to receive feedback on this year’s process from students and parents about  ways to improve the process next year.  A survey will also go to current eighth graders to learn more about their experiences this year. Information will be shared and available on our website.

District results for SSP are available here.