Ranking High Schools Based On Outcomes

High school is arguably the most important phase of your education. Some families will move just to be in the district of the best ranked high school in the area. However, the factors that these rankings are based on, such as test scores, tuition amount, average class size, teacher to student ratio, location, etc. do not measure key outcomes such as what colleges or jobs the students get into.

Unfortunately, measuring outcomes is tough – there’s no data source that I know of that describes how all past high school students ended up. However, I thought it would be a fun experiment to approximate using LinkedIn data. I took eight top high schools in the Bay Area (see the table below) and ran a whole bunch of advanced LinkedIn search queries to find graduates from these high schools while also counting up their key outcomes like what colleges they graduated from, what companies they went on to work for, what industries are they in, what job titles have they earned, etc.

The results are quite interesting. Here are a few statistics:

College Statistics

  • The top 5 high schools that have the largest share of users going to top private schools (Ivy League’s + Stanford + Caltech + MIT) are (1) Harker (2) Gunn (3) Saratoga (4) Lynbrook (5) Bellarmine.
  • The top 5 high schools that have the largest share of users going to the top 3 UC’s (Berkeley, LA, San Diego) are (1) Mission (2) Gunn (3) Saratoga (4) Lynbrook (5) Leland.
  • Although Harker has the highest share of users going to top privates (30%), their share of users going to the top UC’s is below average. It’s worth nothing that Harker’s tuition is the highest at $36K a year.
  • Bellarmine, an all men’s high school with tuition of $15K a year, is below average in its share of users going on to top private universities as well as to the UC system.
  • Gunn has the highest share of users (11%) going on to Stanford. That’s more than 2x the second place high school (Harker).
  • Mission has the highest share of users (31%) going to the top 3 UC’s and to UC Berkeley alone (14%).

Career Statistics

  • In rank order (1) Saratoga (2) Bellarmine (3) Leland have the biggest share of users which hold job titles that allude to leadership positions (CEO, VP, Manager, etc.).
  • The highest share of lawyers come from (1) Bellarmine (2) Lynbrook (3) Leland. Gunn has 0 lawyers and Harker is second lowest at 6%.
  • Saratoga has the best overall balance of users in each industry (median share of users).
  • Hardware is fading – 5 schools (Leland, Gunn,  Harker, Mission, Lynbrook) have zero users in this industry.
  • Harker has the highest share of its users in the Internet, Financial, and Medical industries.
  • Harker has the lowest percentage of Engineers and below average share of users in the Software industry.
  • Gunn has the highest share of users in the Software and Media industries.
  • Harker high school is relatively new (formed in 1998), so its graduates are still early in the workforce. Leadership takes time to earn, so the leadership statistic is unfairly biased against Harker.

You can see all the stats I collected in the table below. Keep in mind that percentages correspond to the share of users from the high school that match that column’s criteria. Yellow highlights correspond to the best score; blue shaded boxes correspond to scores that are above average. There are quite a few caveats which I’ll note in more detail later, so take these results with a grain of salt. However, as someone who grew up in the Bay Area his whole life, I will say that many of these results make sense to me.

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6 Comments

Filed under Blog Stuff, Data Mining, Education, Job Stuff, LinkedIn, Research, Science, Social, Statistics

6 responses to “Ranking High Schools Based On Outcomes

  1. Cool post Vik, especially considering we went to Leland :) How did you source the list of graduates from those high schools and from what years? Most LI users don’t list their high school on their profile? Maybe if you cross-checked w/ those who have public FB pages? Or is it self-selecting (eg those that listed their HS on their LI are more likely “over-achieving” or wanting to mention their HS b/c it’s noteworthy?)

    The separate stat (but equally interesting) is which schools have the largest number of super-stars (eg Nobel prize winners, Academy award winners, Forbes billionaire list etc). I suspect that this would be very random/distributed.

    • Vik

      Thanks Raj. Yeah I just look at profiles of those who have advertised their high schools on LinkedIn – not everyone does this. It’s like a sample survey – and as you mention probably biases the more ‘over-achieving’ or ‘desiring fame’ folks – so hopefully that normalizes out. Would be very cool to have a super-star stat.

  2. Atul

    Very cool post. Thank you for doing this research.
    Would there be anyway to limit the searches to public high schools only? It would be very interesting to see those results as well.

    • Caroline

      Saratoga, Lynbrook, and Gunn are all public high schools. I’m from the Lynbrook pool myself. :] This caught my attention since I definitely list it on my profile in order to “connect” with old classmates on LI.

  3. laddy

    i go bellarmine i got into harvard!

  4. David Pepperdine

    When you consider Gunn graduates going to Stanford, do you account for the fact that children of Stanford faculty attend Gunn? It would not surprise me if these children were to get preferential admission to Stanford (or by reciprocation), admission to Ivies.

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