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What is my school being compared to?

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017 01:09PM CST

The 5Essentials results are norm-referenced, meaning a school's' survey results are compared to a specific normative group. The original 5Essentials research results also were based on this kind of model, comparing schools that were relatively strong to those that were relatively weak. Because high schools can be substantially different from elementary schools, we compare high schools to the benchmark high school average and so on for all grade-level classifications.
 

School grade-level classifications are as follows:
       •  High School: Grades 9-12​
       •  Middle School: Grades 6-8
       •  Elementary School: Grades K-8 and K-6
       •  Primary School: Grades K-5


In order to allow schools to see areas of progress, we set the benchmark to a particular point in time. This way, all schools have the ability to improve on the 5Essentials; if the benchmark changed every year, schools would be compared to a moving target.

The categories for the Measure scores consist of standard deviations from the benchmark. The top category is at least 1.5 standard deviations above the benchmark. Each of the middle categories are exactly one standard deviation wide: the second category is between 0.5 and 1.5 standard deviations above the benchmark; the third category is between -0.5 and 0.5 standard deviations away from the benchmark; and the fourth category is 0.5 to 1.5 standard deviations below the benchmark.The bottom category is at least 1.5 standard deviations below the benchmark.

 

About the Benchmark


The CPS Benchmark. The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) average in 2011 is the benchmark used for district-level partners. CPS is a very diverse system, with over 650 large, small, public, charter, and other types of schools. The original research that found 5Essentials as a leading indicator for school improvement was conducted using two decades of CPS data.
 
The benchmark is used to generate meaningful categories for each Measure score:

       •  “Very strong”: at least 1.5 standard deviations above the benchmark.

       •  “Strong”: between 0.5 and 1.5 standard deviations above the benchmark.

       •  “Neutral”: above -0.5 standard deviations and below 0.5 standard deviations above the benchmark.

       •  “Weak”: 0.5 to 1.5 standard deviations below the benchmark.

       •  “Very weak”: at least 1.5 standard deviations below the benchmark.


The Illinois Benchmark. For schools in Illinois and other state-level partners, we use the 2013 state average as the benchmark. As described above, we compare schools within grade level. 
 

The categories on the Illinois reports (illinois.5-essentials.org) have different colors (shades of purple) and labels than other clients, although the scoring process is identical for all clients:

       •  “Most implementation”: at least 1.5 standard deviations above the benchmark.

       •  “More implementation”: between 0.5 and 1.5 standard deviations above the benchmark.

       •  “Average implementation”: above -0.5 standard deviations and below 0.5 standard deviations above the benchmark.

       •  “Less implementation”: 0.5 to 1.5 standard deviations below the benchmark.

       •  “Least implementation”: at least 1.5 standard deviations below the benchmark.


Note: CPS schools appear on the Illinois reporting site (illinois.5-essentials.org) as well as their own CPS reporting site (cps.5-essentials.org). The CPS reporting site uses the labels “very strong”, “strong”, etc. Although the labels differ between the two sites, the scores themselves are identical.

 

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