Minneapolis School Finder

How We Calculate Performance

We all know that school quality is more than test scores. How students feel in the building & if a school is meeting the needs of every student are essential factors in student learning & success. That is why we spent the past year talking to families & community leaders to better understand what information you all want to see when evaluating school quality.  As a result of these conversations, we are introducing more measures into our school performance ratings to capture school climate & equity, alongside academic performance. 

Performance ratings for schools are based on a single year of data.  We look at three performance areas: 

  • Academics: Number of students on grade level &/or on track for college preparedness
  • Climate: The stability of student enrollment & teacher retention at the school
  • Equity: How different student groups within the school are doing across all the above metrics. 

For each performance area, we assign one of five ratings:

What is the School Performance Rating?

The School Performance Rating (SPR) is a tool for families to understand and interact with school data, empowering them to advocate for their children’s success. Families, school representatives, and community leaders collectively developed this multi-measure definition of school quality. Each eligible school in the Minneapolis School Finder (MSF) receives a percentage value which reflects how well they are doing. These percentages are divided into color bands with red being the lowest rating a school can receive and blue being the highest. The rating colors order is Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue.

The SPR replaces the previous academic rating in the MSF with a more holistic measure, adding climate and equity measures to complement traditional academic benchmarks. Many cities – including Chicago, Denver, and New York City – employ similar ratings for their schools.

The current SPR is not a finished product; this is the first attempt to capture a holistic picture of school quality. Local education and policy advocates are actively working toward changes in the SPR by leading work toward improvements in data quality and quantity.

What goes into the School Performance Rating?

The SPR has three components: Academics, Climate, and Equity. Combined, these make up a holistic rating. Each component is calculated from different measures that indicate a school’s quality in that area. Rating metrics differ between traditional high schools and schools serving grades K-8. 

ComponentK8 MetricsHigh School Metrics
AcademicMCA Proficiency – Math & ReadingMCA Progress – Math & Reading4 Year GraduationCollege ContinuationComposite ACT
ClimateConsistent AttendanceTeacher RetentionConsistent AttendanceTeacher Retention
EquityProficiency Gaps – Math & ReadingProgress Gaps – Math & ReadingConsistent Attendance GapsTeacher of Color – Student of Color Ratio4 Year Graduation GapsCollege Continuation GapsConsistent Attendance GapsTeacher of Color – Student of Color Ratio

How is the School Performance Rating calculated?

1. Curve each individual measure.

Each measure is divided into 5 color-coded categories, split by 4 cut points. These cut points are curved to fit a flat distribution on a 0 to 100 scale. This allows for comparison across measures.

For example, Math Progress is split into 5 categories. It is then curved to fit a 20/40/60/80 distribution using the formula y = 87.927 * ln(x) – 279.93, where x is the Actual value and y is the Adjusted (curved) value.

A school with a Math Progress rate of 45% would be given a curved value of 55%, awarding them a Yellow rating. Each measure has a unique curve based on its designated cut points.

2. Calculate a weighted average for each component.

Continuing on our previous example, see below for the calculations that go into Example School’s Academic rating.

For K8 Academics, Math Progress and Reading Progress each make up 37% of the total weight. Math Proficiency and Reading Proficiency make up 13% each.

3. Calculate an Overall Rating using a weighted average of the three components

The same technique is used to award an Overall Rating. That is, the three components contribute to a weighted average, the result of which is the Overall Rating.

Example School was given a Yellow rating in Climate and a Yellow rating in Equity. These combine with the Green rating it received in Academic to come to a Yellow overall rating. 

Why Does a School Not Have a Rating?

  1. Limited Data

The most common reason for a missing rating is the lack of quality data. Schools that were missing data for more than half of their measures were not given a rating. There are several reasons why a school may be missing data.

  • For MCA Proficiency, sample size thresholds excluded data for any schools with fewer than 60% of their students taking the MCA in 2022. 
  • For MCA Progress, sample size thresholds excluded data for any schools with fewer than 50% of their students taking the MCA in either 2021 or 2022.
  • For Composite ACT, sample size thresholds excluded data for any schools with fewer than 60% of their students taking the ACT in 2021.
  • Independent schools have less publicly available data. While schools were given opportunities to share data, there are still limitations to what is available.

2. New Schools

Schools that are opening in Fall 2022 or later will not have any data. Schools that opened in Fall 2021 will have limited data.

3. PK-2 Schools

The MCA is administered beginning in Grade 3. Thus schools that do not serve Grade 3 or higher will not have Academic data. 

4. Alternative Schools

Alternative schools – that is, schools serving students that have not found success in the traditional school model – do not have Ratings. Because these schools serve a different group of students, the definition of quality varies from traditional schools. We are working to develop a Rating that aligns more directly to the mission of alternative schools.

How can I dive deeper into the calculations?

For more information on how the SPR is calculated, see the SPR Calculations Technical Guide.

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