To determine the school district where students are most likely to succeed in every state, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on various measures of school finance, student success, and other socioeconomic measures. Data on per pupil spending in 2017 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of School System Finances and was included in the index. Data on the ratio of students to teachers in the 2017-2018 school year came from the National Center for Education Statistics and was included in the index. The average freshman graduation rate for the 2009-2010 school year also came from the NCES and was included in the index. Data on the percentage of children aged 5 to 17 living in poverty in 2018 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program and was included in the index. Finally, five-year data on the percentage of adults 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree by school district in 2018 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and was included in the index. Only school districts with at least 500 students and four of the five data points included in our index were considered.
Data on Advanced Placement enrollment and the percentage of students who took and passed at least one AP exam in the 2015-2016 school year came from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection program and were aggregated from the school level to the district level using only schools with students in grades nine through 12 exclusively.