Why did my school or district’s ranking change?

Niche rankings are based on rigorous analysis of key statistics from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and parents. Learn more about our rankings.

The most important thing to understand about your school or district’s ranking is that it measures how your school compares to all other schools considered in the ranking. Therefore your rankings could change for three reasons:

1. Changes in your school or district’s data
2. Changes in other schools’ or districts’ data or the population of schools and districts considered in the ranking
3. Changes in our rankings methodology

Below we expand on each of these concepts:

1. Changes in your school or district’s data

Niche uses the most recently available data from the U.S. Department of Education as the basis for most statistical factors used in rankings. For private schools in particular, we also collect data directly from schools via our Claim Your School process. If you are a school administrator and would like to update your data, please Claim Your School. Our student-driven factors have also been updated based on millions of reviews and datapoints submitted by millions of Niche users over the last year. Learn more about where our data comes from.

2. Changes in other schools or districts’ data or the population of schools considered in the ranking

The biggest change this year is that we’ve expanded the population of schools and district that we ranked. This year we had enough data to newly rank 1,179 more public schools and 166 more private schools. Since each school’s ranking/grade is calculated relative to all other schools or districts assessed, the inclusion of more schools had an impact on each school’s rankings. As a result, many schools and districts saw their rankings fall year-over-year. As outlined above, rankings factors for all schools were updated with new data for this year.

3. Changes in our rankings methodology

Niche made two methodology changes for the 2024 grades and rankings cycle. The first being that we have removed all SAT/ACT related factors from our K-12 methodologies. Niche made this decision as we have been monitoring admissions testing trends the past several years. At first, the rise of test-optional college admissions was primarily in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, more than three years later, we have seen that trend continue. With that, Niche no longer felt that SAT/ACT factors are a valuable measure of determining a K-12 school’s academic and college preparedness.

The second adjustment made was to our K-12 Diversity Methodology. We decreased the parent/student survey factor from 25% to 20% while increasing the gender diversity factor from 5% to 10%. This eliminates eligibility volatility that we have seen with that survey factor weight being higher. Most importantly, it further emphasizes gender is an important aspect of diversity.

Questions?
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