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.
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Updated   November 24, 2017 |
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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Updated   June 19, 2017 |
Which States Have the Best Public Schools?
We report on the annual survey by Education Week that lists the status of public education in all 50 states.
The numbers are in that indicate how well the education system in the United States is serving its students. Education Week has released its 17th annual ratings for the quality of education in each of the 50 states, awarding letter grades to schools similar to those found on student report cards. Unfortunately, the report card indicated there is still plenty of work to do for most states across the country, with an average national grade of a C+ overall. However, there were a number of bright spots across the survey as well, particularly in the top rated states where education appears to be thriving in many ways.
 
“Quality Counts”
 
The survey, titled, “Quality Counts,” uses six key metrics to grade the quality of education in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The metrics are as follows:
  • K-12 Achievement
  • Assessment and Accountability
  • Transitions and Alignment
  • Standards
  • Students’ Chances for Long-Term Success
  • The Teaching Profession
Within these six metrics are more than 100 indicators that include such factors as graduation rates, education funding and achievement gaps, according to a report on the survey at the Washington Post. Data was collected from sources like the U.S. Department of Education and the Census Bureau to compile these recent rankings.
 
Interesting Note on Findings
 
When discussions on education quality arise, many of them tend to center on school funding. The general school of thought is that the more money that is pumped into public schools, the higher the education quality will be. However, the numbers in
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Published   May 28, 2012 |
What are the Best High Schools in America? Top 15 Ranked Schools
U.S. News recently released its latest list of the best high schools in America. We’ll take a look at some of the schools on the list and whether the rankings are warranted.
A new report from U.S. News and World Report reveals the top-rated high schools in America, but it is not without its share of accolades and controversy. This list was compiled after the publication carefully analyzed 22,000 high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals, based on a range of criteria. While some schools are celebrating their inclusion on the list, others are left scratching their heads, wondering how and why they were selected among so many good high schools across the country.

Three Steps to the Top-Ranked Schools
 
The creation of the U.S. News list was achieved through a three-step process, which was implemented by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). First the publication looked at student performance, by weighing math and reading scores on high school proficiency tests against the percentage of economically disadvantaged students at the school. Schools that scored higher statistically than the state average were evaluated through the next step in the process.
 
Next, U.S. News and AIR looked at whether the least advantaged students were performing at a higher rate than the state average. This list included Hispanic, African-American and low-income students. Schools that were performing better than average in this area proceeded to the next step of the evaluation process.
 
Finally, schools were judged on their college-readiness, through Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data. Both of these programs offer college-level courses across the country, as well as the ability
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Updated   June 17, 2017 |
Maryland Schools Ranked Number One – Four Years and Counting
The results are in from Education Week’s annual public school rankings – and Maryland schools take the top spot for the fourth year in a row.
Maryland ranks at the top of the nation
While finals week may still be a long way off for most of the schools across the country, report cards are out for Education Week’s annual assessment of the nation’s schools state by state. For the fourth straight year, Maryland has claimed the top spot in the publication’s yearly ranking of school systems. However, with a top grade of B+, it is apparent that most of the country’s school districts still have a long way to go when it comes to providing the highest possible education to their students.
 

Quality Counts

Quality Counts is the name given to the most comprehensive assessment of the nation’s schools conducted by Education Week every year. According to Education Week’s website, the rigorous evaluation process provides an in-depth look at the state of public schools across the United States today. In light of the recent recession that resulted in big cuts in education spending for many states, as well as efforts by states to put the education pieces back in order during the slow economic recovery, this assessment becomes even more relevant in providing a snapshot of where the quality of education is heading.

“If the turbulence and waves of hardship brought by the recession have taught us anything, it’s that America will sink or swim in a global economy based on its success educating all of its citizens, not just a privileged few, to high standards,” Christopher B. Swanson, the vice president of Editorial Projects in Education, the non-profit that oversees Education
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Evaluating Public Schools

Grading and Ranking Schools