Discover the Best Schools in Any Area

School Data FAQs

Know how good the public schools and local school districts are before you buy a home or relocate. You can search for and find the best schools in any area of America.

Subscribers get instant access to see where the top school districts are.

What the search provides

Only NeighborhoodScout gives you nationally comparable school rankings based on test scores, so you can directly compare the quality of schools in any location. In fact, our nationally comparable school ratings are patented. We also give you the ability to put in the school quality and class size you want, and the search engine will return the best neighborhoods for education in a list and map your results to the neighborhood level.

We are the only information provider to have this level of search functionality.

We also provide deep and rich information about the schools and districts that best match your criteria.

We provide not only test scores, class sizes, learning environment, types of students, educational expenditures, and more, for almost every school and district, but we also provide exclusive comparative school rankings so users can see exactly how any public school compares with any other, even across state lines – with a directly comparable ranking based on test scores. Our approach is so powerful and so unique that it is patented.


How do we do this? Dr. Schiller, a PhD Geographer and the creator of NeighborhoodScout, developed an exclusive way to compare schools and school districts across state lines based on test scores from federally-mandated state standardized tests, even though the tests are entirely different in every state.

While each state has a different standardized test that all students must take, a population of randomly selected students in each state also take the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test each year. The NAEP test is the closest thing to a gold standard national test. But not enough students take this test in any one district or school to use it for directly comparing school achievement.

Because it is a national standard, NAEP test scores are comparable across states, but the percentage of students that pass the test in each state varies widely.

For example, only 16% of the students in Mississippi who recently took the NAEP achieved a passing grade, whereas 45% of the students in Massachusetts who took it received a passing grade, even though the test is the same. But compare Mississippi’s passing percentage on the NAEP – 18% – to the nearly 75% of Mississippi students that scored proficient or advanced on Mississippi’s own standardized test. If we based school ratings on just the state test, Mississippi would appear to possibly have the best prepared students in the nation.

So, to make each state’s standardized test scores for each district and school comparable to other schools and districts in different states, we subtracted the percentage of students in the state who scored proficient or better from the state standardized test from the percentage of students in that state who passed the NAEP, and used this difference (or gap) to align each school and district test scores across the nation.


About the school data

The data we use to develop our school rankings and ratings are from each state’s No Child Left Behind Test scores, from each state’s Department of Education and the National Assessment of Educational Progress from the NAEP data, found within the National Center for Education Statistics. Additional details on educational environment, school enrollment, groups by ethnicity/ancestry or economic groups, and school funding, are brought together from the National Center for Education Statistics. Our own patent pending algorithms are used to create nationally comparable school rankings (described above). The NeighborhoodScout search engine is used to calculate the school districts that best match your search criteria, and to map your best neighborhoods for education in any area you choose.

School data reporting from schools to the Federal Government, and what it means for parents

The quality of public schools varies a great deal across America. Because of this, it is always possible that you won’t find any high quality public schools within your search radius. Despite this, NeighborhoodScout lets you see where the best ranking districts and neighborhoods for education are located so that you can make the best possible choice within your specified search area. If you do find only poor-ranking school districts within your search, you will then know that you should consider broadening your search area.