Mackinac Center Ranks Michigan’s Elementary and Middle Schools

The third edition of the Context and Performance Report Card unveiled

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Holly Wetzel
Marketing and Communications Associate

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has released a new Context and Performance Report Card, ranking 2,261 elementary and middle schools across the state.

Hamtramck Academy, a Bay Mills-authorized, National Heritage Academies charter school, was ranked the top school overall in the state. It was one of 30 charter schools listed in the top 100 for overall performance.

Unlike other school assessments, the CAP Report Card adjusts for student poverty levels when evaluating a school’s academic performance. In addition to generating a "CAP Score" based on three years of M-STEP assessments for grades three through eight, the report card also includes a long-term performance measure and recognizes schools that have made the biggest improvements over time.

A school’s CAP Score is based on how well the school performs compared to the expected result given the socioeconomic makeup of its students. Schools exceeding expectations score above 100, whereas schools falling below those projections score less than 100. Schools are also assigned a letter grade, distributed on a standard curve, based on these scores.

Dearborn Public Schools deserves a notable mention, as they run five of the top 10 schools on this report card and seven of the top eight conventional schools statewide. The district’s Iris Becker Elementary was also ranked the number one school based on long-term performance.

The two most improved schools are former Detroit district schools that currently operate as district-authorized charter schools: the Glazer and Loving campuses of New Paradigm Academy. Detroit charter schools as a whole comprised 11 of the top 100 overall schools and seven of the 25 most improved schools.

The state still relies on a school assessment system that does not account for the socioeconomic status of students. However, the state is in the process of redesigning its rubric to include more weight on measuring year-to-year progress and student demographics, in addition to raw achievement scores and graduation rates.

“Taking demographics into account when considering a school’s success is essential,” says Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Ben DeGrow, who co-authored the study with Ronald Klingler. "Some students bring more challenges with them to the classroom and deserve recognition when they are beating the odds."

The full report card and a searchable database is available at:

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