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 315 more public schools and 130 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

The biggest change for methodologies in 2022 is that we’ve de-emphasized the importance of SAT and ACT scores. Niche made the decision for several reasons: an increasing number of institutions adopting test-optional policies, challenges making appointments to test in-person due to COVID-19, and acknowledgment of socioeconomic and racial disparities perpetuated by standardized tests. As of the 2022 Best Schools rankings release, the weight for any factor that considers standardized test scores has been reduced by one-third. Niche chose to reduce instead of eliminating SAT and ACT factors because, despite the growing movement toward test-optional admissions, many colleges still require test scores and the future of standardized testing remains unclear. As things continue to change and evolve, Niche is committed to continually improving our process and methodology to ensure our rankings can be trusted to make such an important decision.

Please contact us with questions or feedback.