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We have the data to help you find the right school

The Rochester Business Journal Schools Report Card has grown since it was first published in 2005. Initially focused on just Monroe County schools, the publication expanded with a separate version for schools in Ontario County in the third year. Two years ago we decided to produce a combined report card for Monroe and Ontario counties.
 
Through all these additions and revisions, some things have remained constant. These reports provide readers with key information on public and private schools in each county. And we do so in a manner designed to keep subjective analysis out of the equation.
 
To help you better understand how and why we compile and present this information as we do, here’s a list of frequently asked questions about the Schools Report Card.
 
Do you rank the schools by student performance or other measures?
  
No, we do not. As we prepared to publish the first Schools Report Card, we gave much thought to the idea of creating a weighted system of ranking the schools based on a mix of test scores and diploma rates. We decided against that approach, however, for this reason: Any rating formula would be arbitrary and might result in unfair qualitative assessments.
 
Certain judgments remain, of course. Mountains of data are available, so we must decide which test scores to include. And should public and private schools be listed separately or together?
 
The approach we adopted in 2005-and have used since then-allows you to make a range of comparisons among districts and schools. With this wealth of data, you can draw your own conclusions about how much weight to give each measure of academic performance or cost-effectiveness.
 
We have pored through all the data on the schools, but it’s still not clear to us which district would be best for our kids.
 
Each child has different needs, and parents must weigh numerous factors-ranging from special education offerings to sports and music programs-in making choices among school districts or between public and private education. And let’s be honest: Tax rates matter too. Our goal is to provide an abundance of important information on the schools in Monroe and Ontario counties to help you reach a decision.
 
What’s the source of the test-result data?
 
We use information from the state Education Department, which gives schools the opportunity to review the data before it is released publicly. In all cases, we’ve used the most recently available numbers. Some test results were provided by individual schools. The data in this edition is for the 2010-11 school year and was released this spring. All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole percentage point.
 
On the Grading the Public and Private Schools pages, why do some schools have no test results?
 
Some schools are listed in a particular category but do not administer tests common to most of the schools in that category.
 
I have read the Schools Report Card each year, and I’ve never seen a photo from my child’s school. Why?
 
Each year we try to include a range of public and private schools representing various grades, with a particular focus on schools our photographer has not visited before. If you would like your school to be considered for a photo shoot next year, email me at [email protected].
 
One of the facts you published about my child’s school appears to be incorrect.
 
If you think this publication contains erroneous information, please contact Research Director Ashley Coon by phone at (585) 546-8303 or by email at [email protected].
 
And as always, we’re eager to know if you have ideas for improving this special supplement next year.                           n
 
6/22/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected].
 

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