Bookmark This Page

HomeHome SitemapSitemap Contact usContacts

Dairy Industry Rankings

A recent news story revealed that Standard and Poor's goofed in their school rankings when they listed Montpelier High School as the fifth-best high school in the nation. The school rightfully belongs in the top 500, which is still quite an achievement; but certainly not comparable. When we think about school rankings, what is really being measured?

Make School Rankings Understandable

For school rankings to be meaningful, parents, students, and the public need to understand what they are being based on. Otherwise, the designation that a particular school placed number one or dead last means nothing.

The numbers themselves can be thought of as data. Data is a group of figures. That's all it is. There is a difference between data and information. The data that is collected is analyzed and turned into information that we can use. If we understand exactly what the institutions at the top of the heap as far as school rankings are doing to earn those top spots, then administrators at other schools can learn from it and apply these strategies to improve the quality of education for their own students.

School Rankings Responsible for Growth of Student Help Industry?

Over the last few years, a number of companies which will provide testing and tutoring for students have cropped up on our collective radar. Their advertising is designed to convey the message that if only the parent would engage this company, that the student's performance at school (and by implication, in life) will be greatly improved.

I would think that if a student is struggling with a particular subject, that they would benefit from some extra help. The current system of school rankings instills a concern in modern parents that previous generations simply didn't have. In the past, parents sent their children to the closest school and that was the end of it. They may cite the fact that the world outside school is a competitive place. Well, it always has been a competitive place in the big, wide world. That hasn't changed.

What has changed (and I really feel that school rankings are playing a role in this) is that parents are afraid for their kids; they worry that if they don't hit the ground running in preschool, that they won't be able to do well in school and in life. This is simply not true.

Why don't we just stop focusing so much on school rankings as the way we evaluate which school is best? There will always be people who are focused on these lists but at the end of the day, what do the school rankings really mean? If a kid gets top marks at a school that didn't make the Top 100 in school rankings, does that take anything away from the student's achievement? No, it does not.

School rankings are only part of the whole educational picture. Let's never forget that fact.

Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit School Rankings