Due to past problems with media outlets seeking to rank, rate or compare independent schools using inconsistent or spurious methodology, ADVIS created the following Guidelines to be considered when deciding how or whether to respond to media inquiries. We encourage member schools to internally communicate these Guidelines to the wider school community.
ADVIS member schools should identify one or two “point people” who must authorize, personally handle, and/or review all requests for data from surveys or other media inquiries, especially those which seek comparative information. If more than one person is appointed, it is critical that those designated communicate with one another when media contacts are made.
ADVIS member schools should communicate immediately with ADVIS upon receipt of and before replying to a media survey when it appears the media outlet is seeking to rank, rate or compare schools (unless the school has already heard from ADVIS about said survey), so that ADVIS can be a clearinghouse of information regarding media activity within our schools. This is particularly critical for organizations that are unfamiliar to you.
In replying to media surveys/requests for information, ADVIS members should balance the desire for favorable publicity for their individual schools with the best interests of the larger independent school community. When promoting your own school, talk about your own school; ADVIS schools should refrain from publishing other schools’ statistics in comparisons.
ADVIS member school representatives should refrain from commenting about matters at other schools, unless comments are unabashedly positive and supportive.
School representatives should strive to use the utmost integrity when reporting school statistics. For questions to which the school chooses to respond, every effort should be made to determine and comply with the methodology being used and/or scope of information sought; i.e. three-year average vs. past year’s results, college acceptances vs. choice, etc. When a school must use alternative methodology (i.e. you compile a five-year average when a survey asks for a three-year average), it must be made clear that the reported statistic varies in its form from the information that was requested.
Approved by ADVIS Board January 28, 2016