Ranking frequently asked questions

1. How does SchoolDigger.com calculate school rankings?

We rank schools based on test scores supplied by each state's Department of Education. We calculate an Average Standard Score by normalizing and averaging each school's test scores across all tests and grades. That average score is then sorted. The school with the highest score is ranked #1, the second highest #2, and so on.

If you want the details of how SchoolDigger.com calculated rankings, please see our ranking methodology page.

2. Why isn't a specific school included on the ranking list?

We only rank schools that have published test scores from that state's Department of Education. Many states do not publish test scores for student populations of ten or less. Private schools are not listed since they are usually not required to administer state tests.

3. How does the star system work?

Schools, districts, and cities in the top 10% of the ranking list get five stars.

% Stars

4. How are districts ranked?

District rankings are calculated as follows: for each district, we determine a Rank Score by averaging the rank percentile for each of the schools in the district.

For instance, take this example of one district:

School Rank Rank Percentile
Lincoln Elementary 15th of 100 Elementary Schools .85
Jefferson Elementary 25th of 100 Elementary Schools .75
Jackson High School 5th of 50 High Schools .90
Average rank percentage (Rank Score):    .8333

This calculation is made for all districts, and then the list of districts is sorted by Rank Score. The district with the highest score is ranked #1.

5. How are cities ranked?

Cities are ranked the same way as districts. See #4.

6. Why are some districts or cities not included in the ranking list?

Some districts and cities are not ranked because there is not enough information to rank them. For districts or cities with 9 or fewer schools, 50% of the schools must have a SchoolDigger ranking to be included. For districts or cites with 10 or more schools, 30% of the schools must have a SchoolDigger ranking to be included.

7. I object to using test scores as the only way to rank schools!

We would be the first to argue that this is not the ultimate way to rank schools and that there are certainly many, many more criteria – objective and subjective – that add to, or subtract from, the overall quality of a school. But we believe that listing schools by test scores is useful, and as a tool should be used by parents in conjunction with all the other criteria available.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

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