Business First rated 212 public and private middle schools that participate in the statewide testing program for eighth graders.
Each school's rating was based on four years of data from the New York State Education Department, covering the period from 2006 through 2009. The greatest weight was given to results from the most recent academic year.
Fifty percent of each school's rating was determined by its students' scores on the statewide English test for eighth graders. The other 50 percent was based on the statewide math test for eighth graders.
Each test from each year was analyzed twice. The formula considered the percentage of students who demonstrated superior skills, as well as the percentage with basic skills.
Superior is defined as a Level 4 score on either test. Basic is defined as a Level 3 or Level 4 score.
A total of 16 statistical indicators were analyzed for each school -- two results per test, two tests per year, for four years.
Two types of schools were not rated:
1. Schools that have been open for less than two years, or that have not generated at least two years of test data.
2. Private schools that don't participate in the statewide testing program.