A benchmark is a higher performing, similar school. The more a similar school outperforms your school, the more compelling that school is as a benchmark.
SchoolBenchmarker™ helps you identify benchmark schools so that you can:
- Set achievable academic targets based on demonstrated best-in-class performance.
- Discover the practices that high performing, similar schools use to achieve their best-in-class performance.
Help for SchoolBenchmarker™ is below.
Because the app is so easy to use, please dive right into and play with SchoolBenchmarker™ to find benchmark schools.
To find your potential benchmark schools:
- Search for your school by typing its name into the text box on the Home Screen. Tap or click on your school to select it.
- If prompted, select your Desired outcome: for elementary/middle tap or click ELA & Math; for secondary tap or click Graduation.
A default list of similar schools will appear in declining order of performance.
Scan this list to identify compelling benchmark schools.
Tap or click on any school to go to the Comparison page.
There, your school’s and the selected school’s performance and demographic data will be displayed side-by-side.
Note that the performance data is weighted. Click on any indicator to get the actual multi-year data.
Tap or click Contact details at the bottom of the Comparison page for the contact name, address and phone number for any school you would like to investigate
You can increase the number of Potential benchmarks available by moving the Similarity slider to the left or decrease it by moving the slider to the
This loosens or tightens the similarity constraint and presents a larger or smaller list of similar schools—always in declining order of performance.
Note that each time you move the Similarity slider, SchoolBenchmarker™ generates an updated set of Potential benchmarks
listed in declining order of performance.
In effect, moving the slider to the left adds less similar schools that may be higher performing.
Moving the slider to the right removes less similar schools that may be higher performing.
- Navigation is simple. Tap or click on the Back button to return to the previous page.
How does SchoolBenchmarker™ work?
For any selected school, SchoolBenchmarker™ presents a default list of Potential benchmarks.
The list is generated by the School Similarity Index (SSI) calculation and by one of two school performance calculations.
The SSI clusters similar schools based on these factors:
- grade-level configuration
- percentage of students receiving free lunch
- percentage of English-language learners
- needs/resource capacity index
The list of similar schools is then sorted from higher to lower performance.
Performance is calculated based on a school’s ability to produce the desired outcome given its level of economic deprivation.
There are two school performance calculations:
- Elementary/middle school performance calculation: % proficient Grade 3-8 ELA & Math state assessments * % economically disadvantaged.
Graduation performance calculation:
Net 5 year cohort graduation rate * % economically disadvantaged
where net graduation rate is defined as
(% cohort graduating 5 yrs by 6/30) - (% cohort dropping out 5 yrs by 6/30).
- The New York State School Report Card database, an annual release by the New York State Education Department (NYSED): http://data.nysed.gov/
- The Graduation Rate and Enrollment Outcomes by Student, an annual release by the NYSED Office of Information and Reporting Services (IRS): http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/
- The English Language Arts and Mathematics Aspirational Performance Measure (APM), also an annual release by the NYSED IRS
- The report concerning data on school district expenditures and revenues, an annual release by the NYSED Fiscal Analysis & Research Unit: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/faru/Profiles/profiles_cover.html
Optimized for mobile devices
SchoolBenchmarker™ is optimized for use with the iPad® and other mobile platforms, such as the iPhone® or Android devices.
It is also optimized for use with modern web browsers such as Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox 12+, Chrome 18+ and Safari 5+.
Note: iPad® and iPhone® users can turn SchoolBenchmarker™ into a "virtual app".
In Mobile Safari, tap the Toolbar Menu button to the left of the address bar and then tap Add to Home Screen.
When accessed from the iPad® and iPhone® Home Screen, SchoolBenchmarker™ will perform as an app.
About the Center for Rural Schools
The New York State Center for Rural Schools, founded in 2008 and located at Cornell University, aims to be a leader in solving systematic problems and improving opportunities,
practice, policy for rural schools and the communities they serve.
The Center is working with many partners to assist New York State’s school districts to (re)create academically sound schools and socially and economically vibrant communities
across the state of NY.
A central mission of the Center is to enhance state and local decision-making through the careful use of data.
Please contact the Center with suggestions and ideas for further enhancements or new data tools.
SchoolBenchmarker™ was designed and developed by Prism Decision Systems, LLC.
Web app icon is Radar, from The Noun Project.