Posted on May 12, 2020
Categories: enrollment, equity, school selection, system trends

All eighth-grade students in Philadelphia are encouraged to participate in the School Selection Process (SSP) to choose a school for ninth grade. This three-part series of research reports takes an in-depth look at four years of ninth-grade SSP admissions (2015-16 through 2018-19).

ORE’s first School Selection report describes the rates at which different subgroups of eighth-grade students applied to ninth-grade schools and the variations in applicant qualifications by subgroup. Findings include:

  • Students of all racial/ethnic groups were equally likely to participate in the school selection process, although different subgroups were sometimes more or less likely to apply to specific types of programs.
  • The pool of qualified applicants was much less diverse than both the overall student body and the overall applicant pool.

The second report in the series shifts the focus of analysis from “Who are the applicants?” to “Where are they applying?” by examining the rates at which different student subgroups–at varying qualification levels–were offered admission to 9th grade schools or programs with competitive criteria. Findings include:

  • Applicants from various subgroups had similar overall success rates, but different success rates at special admission (SA) schools.
  • The more qualified students were, the more likely they were to be admitted to SA schools.
  • Qualified students of all subgroups had similar SA success rates. This was true for students of all races, ethnicities, and genders, regardless of IEP or EL status.
  • However, in some cases, the success rates of under-qualified students varied by subgroup.

This report–the final in the series–describes ninth-grade student responses to admission offers and their subsequent enrollment patterns. Findings include:

  • Rising School District of Philadelphia (SDP) ninth-graders generally accept the offers they receive, and they generally follow through on those acceptances by enrolling at the corresponding school.
  • Students who received offers of admission from Special Admission (SA) schools usually accepted them. SA offer acceptance rates were high among students who received offers from SA schools only (94 percent) as well as among students who received offers from both SA and Citywide (CW) schools (71 percent).
  • The more highly qualified an applicant was, the more likely they were to accept offers of admission. This was true for offers from all types of schools and for all levels of qualification.
  • Students who accepted an admission offer from a CW or SA school usually followed through and enrolled in that school (83.7 percent of the time)– especially in the case of accepted SA offers (92.9 percent).

Click the buttons below to read the full reports.