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Compare Schools Help

Last updated September 10, 2014

    This "Compare Schools" function allows you to create a group of schools to compare in three ways:

    The "Schools Like This" tab helps you find schools "like" your school or any selected school based on multiple categories for comparison.
    The "Highest/Lowest" tab lets you find schools with the highest or lowest values in any of the multiple categories that you select.
    "Select Schools" tab allows you to select specific schools to compare with one another.
    Step 1: Decide which schools to compare against 

    The current school that you are viewing (also designated by the county/district/school pull-downs at the top of the page) controls the comparison. 

    If you select the "Schools Like This" or the "Highest/Lowest" tab, select the schools to compare through your choices in the Comparison Values Selection

    "Compare…schools in" allows you to include schools from all of California, a county or school district, in a city, or by zip code. On the "Schools Like This" tab you also have the option of requesting a list of schools within a district or county by clicking on "all schools in this district" or "all schools in this county." Doing so will override the other selection options.

    "of type" allows you to limit the comparison to a single type of school, a group of school types (such as only Elementary, Middle and Junior, or High Schools), or all school types. The default selection is the "current" school’s type. Note: The combination of criteria that you select (such as "All elementary schools in California") may return more data than your computer or Internet browser can manage. If this happens, try again by narrowing the search criteria.

    "where largest ethnic group is" allows you to include all ethnic groups or select schools whose largest ethnic group is one of the seven reported by the California Department of Education.

    "no preference/only/excluding" works with the selectable values of Charters, Title I, Year-round, and Made AYP. The default of "no preference" means that all schools will be considered. "Only" means the results will include schools where the selected value is "yes"; "excluding" means the results will only include schools with "no."Examples: use this feature to compare only Title I schools or to eliminate Charter schools from the comparison.

    "Focus on schools … with" on the “Schools like this” tab has the values you will select to compare schools as well as the definition of "close to" for each one. You can select and set your own "close to" values and vary the +/- percentages. You can also control how "close" these values must be to the target school by changing the +/- percent.

    “Find schools…with the “n” highest/lowest values for “x”" The “Highest/Lowest” tab allows you to choose “highest” or “lowest” values for a selected criterion, such as enrollment, base API scores, average class size, pupil-teacher ratio, % English learners, etc. You may set the “close to” to zero to see only schools that exactly match the particular value you are interested in.

    You have the option to further focus your comparison with a “close to” for a second category. Otherwise, just leave the second option at “no selection.”

    For some highest/lowest values, the search will produce many matches; for example, many schools have 100% Fully Credentialed Teachers. In those cases, requesting the highest or lowest single value works best. For others, such as API Base Score, values range widely, so that selecting the highest or lowest 5 or 10 values will give more robust results.

    "Show up to" indicates the number of schools that will appear in the results report. Although the report automatically displays up to 10 schools, you can list more (if more match the criteria) by increasing the "Show up to" value. Information about the total number of schools that match the criteria will be reported in the status line at the top of the results page as "(n of m matches listed,...)."

    Your browser should display the selections in a color that indicates the category of data: Enrollment, School, High School, Students, Teachers, and Performance. This color-coordination of subject areas follows through from the selection drop-down lists to the "Comparison Results Selection" and again in the column headers of the data report.

    At this point you can Click to Compare for a report that includes a default set of data elements for each school -- or go to Step 2 for a customized report.

    Notes on Selection Criteria:

    By default, the report compares schools with an enrollment close to the current school. This can be easily changed as described in Step 2.
    The +/- percent behaves differently for percentages than it does for numbers. For example, for a Percent Free Meals value of 20 percent, +/- five percent means show any districts whose value is between 15 and 25 percent. But, for an Enrollment of 20, +/- five percent means districts whose enrollment is between 19 and 21.
    The full "Show up to" number of districts in the Selection Criteria will not be displayed in the results if fewer districts fit the selected criteria. For instance, if “Show up to” is 25 rows but only 20 districts fit the criteria, you will see 20 in the results.
    By default, your selected district will be in the results even if it does not match the criteria you selected. You can exclude it if you prefer by unchecking the selection box.

    Or choose schools by name or district

    If you select the "Select Schools" tab, choose your schools to compare through individual school selection

    If you select find schools by Name: Type in the name of the school you wish to add to the comparison, and click on the correct school from the drop-down menu.

    If you select find schools by District: Choose the county and district where the school you wish to add to the comparison is located. Click on the name of the correct school.

    You may select up to 115 schools for a single comparison. The school which you first navigated to (the "target" school) is automatically included in the comparison.

    To delete a school from your list, click the "x" next to its name.

    At this point you can Click to Compare for a report that includes a default set of data elements for each school -- or go to Step 3 for a customized report.

    Step 2: Select what values to compare on

    The checked boxes in the results area show which columns (data elements) will be included in the results report for each school. To expand or reduce the items in your results report, just click a checkbox to select (or deselect) the item or click on a heading to select (or clear) the full list.

    Step 3: Click to compare

    The results are displayed only after you "Click to Compare." They appear on a results tab that is not visible until you click. On the results page, the target district will be highlighted with a light green background if it is included in the comparison.

    If you selected schools using either the "Schools Like This" or the "Highest/Lowest" tab, by default, the report compares schools with an enrollment close to the current school. To change this focus, go back to the pull-down lists in the Comparison Values Selection box ("...with"). For each selection, a default "close to" value is based on the current school.

    Sorting the results

    If you selected schools using either the "Schools Like This" or the "Highest/Lowest" tab, the comparison results are sorted in one of two ways. If "close to" criteria are given, the results are sorted by the first criterion. Otherwise, the results are sorted by school name. To sort by a different column, simply click on the column heading in the results. The same results are displayed but sorted according to the selected column.

    Downloading the results

    Click on the button at the top of the School Comparison Results box to download the data as a spreadsheet. In addition to the columns shown on the report, each spreadsheet row includes the county code, district code, and school code.


    The comparisons reports, especially those with many columns, are best printed in "landscape" form. If you selected schools using either the "Schools Like This" or the "Highest/Lowest" tab, immediately above the table displaying the results you will see a narrative description of the criteria used to produce the report, e.g., "Compare all schools in California with Base API between 849 and 1,149". By selecting (highlighting) this line and the table below and printing only the "selection," you can avoid printing the navigation box and the Comparison Values Selection.

    Data sources

    The data in the Compare Schools report are drawn from the School Profile and the Accountability reports. The School Profile includes a link to Profile Definitions defining many of the terms used.

    With the exception of the county name, the data in each column are links to more detailed information for the individual school.

    Give it a try!

    Click here to compare schools >

    Click here to compare school districts >

    All contents copyright © 2015, Education Data Partnership. All rights reserved.

    Ed-Data is a partnership of the California Department of Education, EdSource and the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) designed to offer educators, policy makers, the legislature, parents, and the public quick access to timely and comprehensive data about K-12 education in California.