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Methodology of 'Most Dangerous Schools' project

How data analysis points to problematic schools in South Florida

MIAMI – Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres analyzed statewide data on the documented times when public school students broke the rules from the 2012-2014 school years.

The data allows for an accurate examination of the behavioral issues that children are dealing with in the public school system.

This is the first time Local 10 News provides an analysis of where South Florida districts' most problematic schools stand, and whether the poverty and crime rates of the neighborhoods have an influence on the the disruptions.

The Local 10 News analysis tracks the most comprehensive data of disciplinary issues in Florida public schools -- known as the Florida Department of Education's  School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting System.

RAW DATA: The incidents include reports of weapons possession, threats, harassment, fighting, and battery.

Florida Department of Education 2012-2013 school year

Florida Department of Education 2013-2014 school year

Local10.com users can search the data for themselves by searching for a specific school on Local10.com or by going to Local10.com's education page.

GET THE LISTS:

- Worst schools in Broward

- Worst schools in Miami-Dade

The data also tracks the most problematic schools in South Florida and their characteristics on the school grade and the neighborhood's crime rate. The data also tracks when students have been caught with drugs and weapons, and when they have been involved in documented fights or sexual misconduct.

After the analysis, Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres found social media posts that reflected the reality of the reports and Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier vetted the analysis with an education research expert.

WATCH THE STORIES

Watch Part 1: Miami-Dade leads Florida on school fights

Watch Part 2: Broward elementary school leads Florida on sex offenses

Watch Part 3: Random metal detector searches in Dade

Local10.com may not have accounted for every problem in the data and welcomes feedback from schools and districts. 

After a thorough analysis of the data on Microsoft Excel, Torres used a visualization tool called Tableau Software to produce interactive graphics showing the volume of the districts' types of reports and changes during school years.

UNDERSTANDING THE DATA

View a table: Categories considered for ranking

Google maps allowed for a better visualization of where the most problematic schools in South Florida are in relation to high-crime areas.

The Local10.com reporter focused on percentages rather than the actual amount of reports to eliminate perception problems inherent to population.

While Torres found some relationships between the proportion of minority students at problematic schools and the number of incident reports related to violence, she found the strongest relationship with the percent of students getting free or reduced price lunches, which is used to estimate poverty.

There was a similar relationship between the problematic schools and crime rates in the neighborhoods, where the schools were located.

For more information about the analysis, please contact Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres on Twitter @MiamiCrime, via e-mail at atorres@Local10.com or call 954-364-2822.

EDIT: A link to the proportional data table published May 8, 2015 was added to this story June 24, 2015.

EDUCATION | COMPLETE COVERAGE