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How We Ranked the Schools

Published Sept. 3, 2019

The performance measures used to determine the rankings were based on data obtained from the Illinois State Board of Education for the 2017 – 18 school year, the most recent available. Calculations were done by the research nonprofit RTI International, based on weighting instructions provided by Chicago; not all the measures used appear in the ranking tables. Non-four-year high schools were excluded, as were elementary and middle schools with grade ranges too limited to generate growth data.

The Measures We Used

  • Spending per pupil is the instructional expenditure, reported by district. (Because Chicago Public Schools reports the same amount for every student — $10,562 in 2017-18 — we excluded that figure from Chicago school calculations.)
  • SAT attainment percentage is the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards on the SAT reading and math exams. We also factored in SAT attainment figures adjusted for the school’s percentage of low-income students. Income-adjusted figures are widely used in the absence of year-over-year individual-student growth measures to evaluate how a school’s performance compares with predicted levels.
  • PARCC attainment percentage is the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards on the PARCC reading and math exams.
  • PARCC growth is the school’s average student growth percentile, which compares the growth achieved by individual students on the PARCC reading and math exams with that of other students in the state.
  • 5Essentials is a teacher and student survey that assesses five key aspects of a school’s learning environment; figures used are the average scores for each of the five rubrics.
  • Attendance is a school’s average daily rate, an indicator of a school’s learning environment.
  • Graduation rate is the percentage of students who graduated within four years of entering high school.
  • How We Weighted the Measures

    Chicago High Schools

    Chicago Elementary Schools

    Suburban High Schools

    Suburban Elementary and Middle Schools

    How We Ranked the Schools


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