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School demographics are the statistical information that describe a school's population and organization. This can include items such as the ethnicity and socioeconomic status of students, teacher qualifications, class size, and graduation rates. School demographics can have a significant influence on the success of an educational institution. This type of information can be utilized in a variety of ways such as assisting parents in selecting a school for their children to attend. With careful analysis, school administrators can also use demographic information to direct choices about how to provide the most effective educational experience possible for the students.
The purpose of compiling data about school demographics is to give an accurate picture of the make-up of an educational facility. Usually a wide variety of information can be included about the students and their families, the teachers, and the school itself. The data collected can vary but it often encompasses topics such as the income level and education background of students' families, student ethnicity and language, as well as academic performance. Teacher qualifications, years of experience, and class size can also be included, along with information about graduation rates and the facilities such as technology available within the school.
Studies have found that certain aspects of school demographics have an influential effect on the performance and success of the educational institution being described. An example of this is that schools with high percentages of students being raised in poverty often have difficulty meeting goals for academic progress. When large numbers of students do not speak the dominant language of the area, low levels of academic success can often result. Schools with a greater percentage of students from middle class, college educated families, or from cultures that emphasize the value of education, often have higher levels of success.
School demographics information can be used in a variety of ways. The data can assist parents in informing their decisions about sending their children to a particular school or seeking out alternatives. It can also be used by prospective home buyers to assist them in purchasing decisions such as selecting a school district or neighborhood in which too buy a house. One of the most important uses of school demographics data is analysis by administrators to inform decisions about instruction and programs so that each student is provided with an appropriate education. Examples of this include offering bilingual instruction in schools with large numbers of students who speak a different first language than the rest of the community or expanded meal and tutoring programs in areas with a substantial percentage of students from low income families.