School Ratings

How to access your state and local public school ratings by state

Finding a school can be a cumbersome process for parents when we want to ensure that our kids attend a well-rounded school. So, how do we know which schools are good, bad, or excellent? There are different ways parents can find out about public school ratings.

For instance, some parents decide on a school by word of mouth or on what they hear from others. However, you will be surprised that schools have their report cards. How a school is rated indicates how good or bad a school’s academic performance is. Most states provide parents with K-12 School performance data.

A school report card is a way to communicate a school’s performance. Some usually reported items are attendance, discipline, academic performance in English language arts and mathematics, and college and career readiness usually reported items. 

You will find that school ratings exist for private schools, public schools, or even charter schools. If you have questions about school ratings, contact the state education department or the school. School administrators can also answer school rating questions such as school graduation rates and accountability reports. In addition, school performance scores have an explanation that you should inquire about when you have questions.


Attendance in a school report provides an overview of student attendance. Schools employ social workers to assist students who miss school and may need support refocusing to attend school. Attendance is part of the learning environment in schools. A school with high attendance rates shows that students enjoy the school.


In schools, discipline is reported to communicate the number of incidents a school may have experienced during a specific school year. This data may also include the number of suspensions and expulsions a school had. Discipline can give parents an idea of how orderly or disruptive the learning environment may be for a particular school.

You will notice that low-score schools tend to have a higher discipline rating. Discipline goes hand in hand with the school environment. A higher rate of discipline incidents constitutes a school with possibly a challenging environment.

Academic performance

Most parents search for school ratings to know how well a school may prepare its students. Academic performance is mostly reported for English language arts and mathematics, but some schools may also report science and social studies. Most academic performance is reported as a percentage for each subject area.

Pay close attention to each subject area, as some schools may reflect the highest performance in English language arts than mathematics or vice versa. Look for other content area ratings. And remember that a higher rating indicates a well-rounded school.

College and career readiness

Another area of focus in schools is college and career readiness. How well is a school preparing students to be ready for college? In this case, a school measure reflects how ready students have shown to be to handle college-level courses. This may include how frequently students take higher-level courses, such as AP, in some states.

Finding school ratings can be a challenge when you move to a different state or when you move to another school district. However, looking closely at your options can help you decide when your child has to switch schools. School ratings can also help you choose schools from elementary to middle or middle to high school.

Take Notes When Researching Schools

When researching schools for your child it helps to take notes about each school. You can list each school and note what their discipline, attendance, and academic performance rating look like. Use a form like the School Rating Worksheet Form to document your search or take notes as you go. Having this information in one page at a glance can help you make informed decisions for your kids.

Find Your School Rating

  • Use the public school rating session below to compare choices when deciding on your child’s school.
  • Search and compare schools during the school choice selection period or to make elementary, middle, or high school decisions.
  • Moving? Access a state’s website when moving to another state.

Below, under each tab, you’ll find each state Department of Education School Report Card. Each link provides access to state-reported data within their state Department of Education websites. These are organized in alphabetical order by state name. If you are interested in looking at state performance data, you can access state-wide data here to view a state report card published by the Nations Report Card (NAEP).

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