Grading and Ranking Schools

Explore the public school grading/ranking system, how it works and what it means. Get latest national rankings and read what critics of school grading have to say. Take a look at the nation’s top performing schools as ranked by U.S. News and Newsweek.
View the most popular articles in Grading and Ranking Schools:
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How Are Public Schools in the United States Actually Doing?
When asked to rank the quality of their child's school, most parents rated it a B average. And yet politicians would have you believe that the American public-school system is failing. How are America's public schools really doing, and how do we know?

If you listen to what just about any politician has to say about America’s schools, you’ll hear the word “failing” quite a bit. The fact is that education is a hot topic and it is one that can be used to inspire people to vote. But how much can you actually trust what a politician has to say about the American public education system? How are the public schools in America actually doing?

In 2017, Jack Schneider released a book called Beyond Test Scores in which he suggests that it is well past time to start rethinking the way we measure school performance.

Schneider writes that while test scores are the go-to metric used to evaluate a school’s performance, they don’t really paint an accurate picture. Using Somerville, Massachusetts, a highly diverse urban school district, as a case study, Schneider presents a new framework to assess the effectiveness of the American education system. Read on to learn more about Schneider’s approach and to see data on how American public schools are really doing.

Changes to the U.S. News Ranking System

Each year, U.S. News publishes a list of the Best High Schools in America. For the 2018 school year, U.S. News ranked over 2,700 schools – some of the names topping the list were BASIS Scottsdale (AZ), Meridian School (TX), and the Baccalaureate School for Global Education (NY).

If you were to peruse the 2019 list of Best High Schools, you would notice quite a change. Not only does the 2019 list

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What are the Benefits of Magnet Schools?
Could a magnet school be the right choice for your child? Take the time to learn what they are and what educational benefits they offer.

The quality of your child’s education will have a significant impact on the rest of his life. The education he receives while he is young will prepare him for higher education and, eventually, a career. The challenge is, however, that there are many different types of schools to choose from. If you want your child to receive the best education available to him, consider enrolling him in a magnet school.

What is a Magnet School?

A magnet school is a type of public school that, while still part of the local public school system, has a particular curricular focus. In many ways, magnet schools are just another type of school but there are some key features which set these schools apart. In the United States, magnet schools are developed around a core set of five principles according to the Magnet Schools of America organization. These five pillars include the following things:

  • Diversity – Part of what sets magnet schools apart from other schools is the focus on diversity which gives students a global educational experience. Through recruitment and lottery systems, magnet schools strive to develop a student body that is reflective of the surrounding community.
  • Innovative Curriculum and Professional Development – Each magnet school has a particular theme and the curriculum is relevant to that theme, designed to prepare students for higher education and eventual career success.
  • Academic Excellence – Magnet schools are committed to multi-dimensional instruction which is focused on the needs of the students. Various assessment strategies are used to monitor student
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Amid CDC Concerns, States Considering Revisions to Concussion Policies
We take a look at a recent call by U.S. health officials to change public policies involving sports-related head trauma injuries, and how some states are already answering the call.
As awareness over the dangers of brain trauma increases, school districts, states and even the federal government are looking at ways to minimize the dangers in youth athletics. With new policies and training in place, the hope is that those working with youth sports will more effectively learn to recognize and treat the symptoms of concussions. Take a look at how some groups are tackling this problem head-on to minimize the risk to the youngest athletes in this country.
 
What is a Concussion?
 
One of the first goals in educating the general public about the dangers of concussions is to first explain what a concussion looks like. According to the North Jefferson News, a concussion is caused by either a direct blow to the head or a blow to the body that jars the head. The impact or jolt interferes with normal brain function. Although a concussion is classified as a mild form of traumatic brain injury, it is still serious – particularly if the individual suffers more than one in a season.
 
This video discusses student concussions in sports activities.
 
 
Symptoms
 
Symptoms of a concussion might include loss of consciousness, although this occurs in only about 10 percent of all concussion cases. Other symptoms might include feelings of pressure in the head, confusion, headaches, dizziness, and blurred vision. Some children may complain of a fuzzy or foggy head, while others may seem unsure of what they are doing or where they are.
 
Treatment
 
Treatment for a concussion can
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No Consistency in Charter School Quality, New Study Finds
We examine the new CREDO study, which finds charter schools are not necessarily outperforming traditional public schools on the national level. Also, concern has been raised from this study over significant inconsistencies in charter school quality from school to school.
A new study shows that while charter schools are making significant gains in their performance, they are not exceeding public schools in most areas of the country. In addition, the study found vast variations in the quality of public school throughout the nation, with charters in some states outperforming traditional schools and charters in other states falling sadly behind. As interest in charter schools continues to grow, many are looking at studies like this with interest to determine whether these non-traditional schools can pull their weight in the public school system.
 
Taking a Closer Look at Charter Schools
 
The Washington Post reports that the latest study was conducted by researchers at Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Researchers analyzed test data for schools in 26 states and the District of Columbia to compare the performance of charter schools to that of traditional public schools. To obtain the most accurate comparisons, charter school students were compared directly to a “virtual twin” - a composite of seven students from a nearby school with similar demographics to the charter school student.
 
This video looks at the question of whether charter schools are better than public schools.
 
 
Like traditional public schools, public charter schools are funded with tax dollars. However, unlike traditional schools, charters do not have to follow the guidelines and curriculum standards required by the local school system. Most charters are not unionized and they are typically run by either parent organizations or
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U.S. News Releases Latest Rankings of Public Schools
We report on the newest rankings by U.S. News that provide a snapshot into the success of various public schools across the country. Which school tops the list?
U.S. News has released its newest ranking of the top-performing public high schools in the country. The rankings are compiled by the news publication annually to help students and parents discover the best high school choices in their states. Rankings are determined by a precise set of criteria that looks at student performance and college readiness. A special look is taken at how well a high school serves its least-advantaged students in these areas.
 
The Method Behind the Research
 
To assess thousands of schools throughout the United States, U.S. News teams up with the American Institutes for Research. This DC-based organization is considered a foremost authority on behavioral and social sciences research across the globe. AIR is responsible for the new criteria utilized by U.S. News this year, which were based on the idea that top schools should effectively serve all the students in their population. This explains the specific examination of student performance by disadvantaged students at each school.
 
Researchers perused data from more than 21,000 high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. States had to provide adequate data and 12-grade enrollment to be included in the rankings. Nebraska did not submit sufficient data on the state’s high schools to be considered. Rankings were completed on a statewide and national basis, to provide the best framework for parents and students who use the rankings to choose the best local high school for their needs.
 
This video reports on the rankings  for 2018.
 
 
Criteria Used
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Evaluating Public Schools

Grading and Ranking Schools