To calculate these lists we analyzed the GreatSchools Ratings for California schools from 2012, 2011, and 2010. We disaggregated by grade level using the California Department of Education’s (CDE) designation of elementary, middle, and high schools and only included schools that had data for all three years. We excluded schools deemed alternative by the CDE’s Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM). For the school district analysis, we excluded districts with less than three schools within their jurisdiction. The following explains the calculation for each list:
• Most improved elementary, middle, and high schools: These lists include the schools that had the largest cumulative increase in GreatSchools Rating over the three-year period analyzed.
• Most improved and fastest falling California school districts: These lists take into account two things: the average change in GreatSchools Rating and the percent of schools in a district that improved or declined over the three-year period analyzed. The list shows the top 10 districts based on average increase or decrease in GreatSchools Rating across all schools within their jurisdiction. The ranking is determined by the percent of schools in a district that improved or declined over time. This ensures that districts with greater numbers of improving schools are ranked higher than those with a small number of fast-improving schools.
• 10 highest and lowest scoring districts: The districts on the 10 highest scoring and 10 lowest scoring lists have the highest or lowest 2012 average GreatSchools Rating across all schools within its jurisdiction.