New Online Database Provides Unique ‘Context and Performance’ Information for Every Standard Michigan Public High School

Data for 678 schools range from ACT and MME scores to percentage of students qualifying for federal school lunch subsidies; chance to ‘uncover hidden gems’

For Immediate Release
Monday, June 27, 2011
Contact: Michael Van Beek
Director of Education Policy
or
Michael D. Jahr
Vice President for Communications
989-631-0900

MIDLAND — A new online database released today by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy supplies a powerful summary of the state’s public high schools’ performance against the background of each school’s size, percentage of students eligible for federal school lunch subsidies, and urban, suburban, town or rural locale class. “This new Web tool allows Michigan residents to quickly find and better understand a high school’s performance given the school’s unique circumstances,” said Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Michael Van Beek, who compiled the database. “They can compare schools more effectively and uncover hidden gems. They may also find some possible underachievers.”

The searchable and sortable database, which provides information for specific schools through a user-friendly Web tool, is assembled from more than 20 state and federal government datasets. Users can view graduation rates, ACT® test scores and Michigan Merit Exam results for individual public high schools, and they can compare high schools within a particular district, county or locale. Data from the 2009-2010 school year are available, and so are average data for 2006-2007 through 2009-2010. Data for high schools statewide can be downloaded from the website, although alternative schools and certain special-population schools were omitted from the database. 

 “By providing contextual data, this online database presents a better view of how Michigan’s public high schools compare to one another than can be found elsewhere,” observed Van Beek. Some examples of schools that stood out are:

-  Calumet High School, a “remote town” school with 48 percent of its students eligible for federal school lunch subsidies, had a higher average ACT® composite score than 85 percent of all other standard Michigan public high schools from 2007 to 2010.

-  Holland High School, a “small city” school with 48 percent of its students eligible for federal school lunch subsidies, averaged a higher ACT® composite score than 72 percent of all other Michigan standard public high schools from 2007 to 2010.

-  Leland High School, a small “remote rural” school with 31 percent of its students eligible for federal school lunch subsidies, had a better ACT® composite score than 92 percent of all other standard Michigan public high schools from 2007 to 2010.

Some public schools with selective admissions also stood out:

-  The Detroit Public Schools’ Renaissance High School, with one-third of its students eligible for federal school lunch subsidies, had a better average ACT® composite score than 94 percent of the state’s other standard public high schools from 2007 through 2010.

-  The Flint Community Schools’ Classical Academy, with two years of ACT® scores and 47 percent of its students qualifying for federal school lunch subsidies, had a better average ACT® composite score than 91 percent of other standard Michigan public high schools from 2007 to 2010.

The Michigan Public High School Context and Performance Database, nicknamed the “CAP Database,” is available online at www.mackinac.org/cap.

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