Local schools receive Rochester-area ranking
(Publisher's Note: New York state school test scores and school rankings can be a challenge for many parents to interpret. Business First in Buffalo has compiled a comprehensive study of western New York schools' test results, combined with graduation rates and averaged from the school's most recent four-year scores. You will find our area schools and their rankings within the 86 school districts of the greater Rochester area. Some Rochester-area schools in the rankings have been condensed in the following chart to make the list more meaningful for our schools, Dundee, Penn Yan, Hammondsport, Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour and nearby districts. Reprinted with permission.)
TRI-COUNTY AREA--Business First has issued its 2017 academic, subject and specialized ratings for school districts and individual schools across western New York and the Rochester area, as well as school districts throughout upstate New York.
The geographic area involved for this story is the greater Rochester area consisting of 86 districts in Yates, Schuyler, Steuben, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, and Wayne Counties. For the 2017 rankings, Penn Yan Academy was ranked 36, Hammondsport 38, Watkins Glen was 53, Odessa-Montour was 61 and Dundee came in 64th.
The list provides subject ranks for English (E), math (M), science (Sci) and social studies (Soc), but it does not include percentiles.
The following abbreviations have been used: HS for High School, JSHS for Junior-Senior High School, MHS for Middle-High School and SHS for Senior High School.
Business First's academic and subject ratings are based on the latest four years of test scores and graduation rates available from the New York State Education Department. The 2017 rankings have been generated from data for the period of 2013 through 2016.
Additional principles and criteria from the Business First study and rankings are listed at the end of this story.
Business First principles and criteria used to produce their Rochester-area school rankings for 2017 include:
PRINCIPLES BEHIND ACADEMIC RANKINGS
Formulas vary for each category, but the basic principles are the same. The following bulleted points explain the four steps in the scoring process:
• Each component of each year's formula was analyzed twice. Districts and schools were given one score for the percentage of students who demonstrated superior skills on a given test and a second score for the percentage with basic skills.
• Superior on a Regents exam or high school Common Core test is defined as 85 points or better. Basic is 65 or better.
• Scores for each component of Business First's formula were determined by comparing the results for a given district or school against the average for all districts or schools in the same category.
• A district's percentage of superior results on the Regents geometry exam, for example, was compared to the average percentage of superior marks for all districts on the same test.
• An above-average percentage received a positive score (known as a z-score), while a below-average showing yielded a negative z-score.
• Z-scores for all categories were plugged into the formulas described below, yielding an annual sum for each district or school.
The annual sum is expressed as a positive or negative decimal number, following the standard z-score format.
• The annual sums for the past four years and a bonus sum were averaged for each district or school, yielding its adjusted sum.
• Averages were calculated according to a 5-4-3-2-1 ratio. The most recent year was given the greatest weight, followed by the three previous years in descending order. The bonus, which was the best annual sum from the first three years of the four-year period, received the least weight.
• Here's how this year's weights were applied for a district or school: The annual sum for 2016 was multiplied by five. Sums for 2015, 2014 and 2013 were multiplied by four, three and two, respectively. And the best annual sum from 2013-2015 became the bonus.
These scores were added and divided by 15, resulting in the adjusted sum for a district or school.
• The adjusted sum, still in z-score format, was converted to a scale on which the top district or school in a given category received 100 points and the bottom entry got 60 points. The resulting number was the final score.
The exact value of the final score for each district or school was determined by the relative position of its adjusted sum between those of the top and bottom entries.
Business First rates all western New York public and private high schools that participate in the Regents testing program, as well as all public high schools in the Rochester Area.
These are the factors that are included in the formula:
• Ten Regents exams: English, integrated algebra, geometry, algebra 2-trigonometry, earth science, living environment, chemistry, physics, global history and U.S. history.
• Four Common Core exams: English, integrated algebra, geometry and algebra 2.
• Two graduation rates: the percentage of all graduates who received Regents diplomas, and the percentage who earned diplomas with advanced designations. (The latter was given twice the weight of the first.)
That means a total of 30 statistical indicators were analyzed to determine each high school's annual sum--two results per test, 14 tests per year, plus two Regents diploma rates. That equals 120 indicators over four years.
If separate Regents and Common Core exams were administered for the same subject in the same year, a weighted average was calculated for the z-scores of both tests. The relative weight of each z-score was determined by the number of students who took the specific exam.
If a school did not offer a Regents exam, or if fewer than five students took a given test, it was not included in Business First's calculations. No penalty was assessed.
Two types of high schools have not been rated:
• Schools that have been open for less than two years or otherwise have not generated at least two years of test data.
• Private schools that don't participate in the Regents testing program.
Specialized ratings are based on the latest data available from the Education Department and the U.S. Census Bureau.