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Methodology: The Top High Schools in Massachusetts 2013

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

 

Proficiencies in the MCAS tests provide important data for GoLocal's ranking of Massachusetts' Top High Schools.

GoLocalWorcester's Top High Schools in Massachusetts 2013 ranking is based on the careful gathering of thousands of pieces of data that directly reflect school quality: reading, math, and writing test scores (both the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS, as well as SATs), student-teacher ratios, spending per pupil, and graduation rates for 345 public, charter, and technical schools in the state. (Note: if schools did not report test results with MA Department of Secondary and Elementary Education, they were removed from the ranking.)

GoLocal uses data from the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education's public databases; the analysis reflects the most current data on this site as of April, 2013. 

Process and weighting formulas

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%
MCAS-English Language Arts 10%
MCAS-Mathematics 10%
MCAS-Science and Technology/Engineering 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, yields the ranking. A second ranking of Central Massachusetts' Top High Schools was derived from the overall ranking statewide.

To see profiles of the Top 200 High Schools in Massachusetts, go here.

To see the Top High Schools in Central Massachusetts, go here.

 

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