Public Versus Private Schools in Wolfram|Alpha
We’ve posted before about Wolfram|Alpha’s ability to answer questions about US school districts and individual public schools, and you’ve given us a lot of great feedback—and even more requests to expand and enhance our school coverage.
We’ve made a few significant improvements in recent months, including the addition of nearly 30,000 private schools to Wolfram|Alpha’s knowledge base. Once again, we’re using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which collects data on US private schools every two years. (The latest available data is for the 2007–2008 school year; we’ll be updating with 2009–2010 data as soon as possible.) To build on examples from our previous posts, you can now query Seattle private schools to get a list of schools and a summary report of student and teacher populations across those institutions.
You’ll see that Bishop Blanchet High School has the largest student body; click the school’s name, and you’ll link directly to a more detailed report on the school—including religious affiliation and a more detailed breakdown of the student body by grade, race, and sex.
And of course you can pull out interesting data in other ways—from simple queries like biggest private school in Miami to more focused inputs like black student fraction in private schools in ZIP 60647. Or you could compare notable schools like the Horace Mann School and Phillips Exeter Academy.
We’ve also added some important data to school districts, including graduation and dropout rates. That data is now included in the basic information about individual districts, along with some helpful definitions of key terms:
Or you can get a snapshot of district performance by trying a Wolfram|Alpha query like dropout rates in Detroit school districts.
As we’ve mentioned before, the NCES doesn’t always provide the most common name of a particular school, so we encourage you to write in with any suggested improvements to school names. We’re continuing to evaluate other sources of data on US (and international) schools and other educational agencies, and as always, we welcome any suggestions or requests for more data in this area.