Today, for the first time, U.S. News published rankings of public elementary and middle schools. Like our annual Best High Schools rankings, we hope these statistical assessments are a useful resource for parents in conjunction with the accompanying data we publish on school characteristics.
All public schools were ranked for which source data and history allowed. In other words, whether a school was ranked or unranked was independent of academic quality. About 81% of public schools with elementary and middle school grades received a ranking.
Including ranked and unranked schools, U.S. News now lists 118,332 public and private grade schools in its directory; among which U.S. News ranked 79,941 unique public grade schools in 2021. These include 47,325 schools newly ranked as elementary schools and 23,255 as middle schools — some of which are in both rankings.
Unlike the high school rankings, there are no national rankings of elementary and middle schools. There are overall state rankings and state rankings broken out by school district. We also published statewide rankings specific to charter schools and magnet schools.
Scoring was almost entirely rooted in students’ performance on mathematics and reading/language arts state assessments. Each state administers these assessments to determine whether learning in core subjects is achieved and to review how well schools are educating their students — including but not limited to children from low-income households and children from historically underserved ethnicities.
The U.S. Department of Education-sourced data was from the 2018-2019 academic year and preceded the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact. For more details on data collection and analysis, see the methodology.
As a note, we hope readers benefit from the sophistication of our analysis. The U.S. News rankings team produced multivariate regressions that assessed student performance in the context of demographics and their states. We believe that is more useful than simply looking at test results to evaluate schools, because this process resembles to a certain extent how education administrators and researchers consider school performance. But our rankings do provide considerable weights for scores themselves, too, because we believe parents value environments where most children arrive prepared to learn and teachers can provide a culture of enrichment.
By focusing on academics, we hope these rankings provide parents insight into a key element of school quality. They can use the rankings, our data and word-of-mouth research to learn about different schools’ environments, administration and student services to best find schools that may be a good fit for their children.
School officials with questions about the Best Elementary and Middle Schools rankings, data or methodology can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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U.S. News Launches Elementary and Middle Schools Rankings originally appeared on usnews.com