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RI’s Top High Schools 2011: How We Got the Rankings

Monday, May 09, 2011


How'd we do it?

Carefully. We gathered hundreds of pieces of data related to school quality: reading, math, and writing test scores (both the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, scores, as well as SATs), student-teacher ratios, spending per pupil, and graduation rates for 51 public, charter, and technical schools in the state. We used public sources and harvested the most current data for each category.

What followed was precise statistical analysis, guided by a methodology used in similar rankings created elsewhere in New England. After collecting the relevant data, we calculated the average values in each of the categories and the degree to which each school either exceeded or failed to reach those averages.

Those deviations from the average were standardized so that different categories could be compared meaningfully, and then we used a weighting formula to give certain categories more importance than others.  We wanted, for example, a school’s student-teacher ratio to matter more in our ranking than its Math SAT scores – though test scores all together account for 60% of the weighting. 

The weightings for calculations were as follows:

Student/Teacher Ratio 15%
Per Pupil Spending 15%
NECAP-English 10%
NECAP-Math 10%
NECAP-Science 10%
SAT-Verbal 10%
SAT-Math 10%
SAT-Writing 10%
Graduation Rate 10%

Each school’s weighted numbers were added into a single evaluative number, which, when ordered from highest to lowest, gave us our ranking.

To see the Top High School chart with data, plus rankings, go here.

For a downloadable, printable version of RI's Top High Schools 2011, with the full chart of rankings and summaries of key articles, click here.


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