Ranking Schools: A Matter of Data Shaping
GoLocalProv released their 2nd annual school ranking list and, setting aside the specific rankings, the fact that fairly well-off suburban communities rated at the top of the list and urban schools at the bottom is really no surprise. However, the way that GoLocal formulated their rankings by weighting expenditure/pupil and teacher/student ratio more (15% each) as compared to academic scores (10% each) is a debatable approach.
Spending more money (#1 East Greenwich, despite the stereotype, is #33 on the expenditure list) and having more teachers per student (Classical, at #10, has a second-to-worst “high” ratio of 15:1) isn’t necessarily representative of kids getting a good education. (For more on this, see this by Fred Hess). Perhaps the “inputs” of expenditure/pupil and teacher/student ratio are more important in determining school quality than the test result/graduation rate “outputs.” (To say nothing of that other immeasurable, parental involvement). But I don’t think they are 50% more important as they were weighted by GoLocal.