Correction: Error in elementary school analysis for Academic State Champs

Due to a computer programming error, earlier this week some Academic State Champs rankings for elementary schools in Michigan were inaccurate. The errors are now corrected.

Bridge Magazine published “Academic State Champ” rankings for more than 3,200 public schools in Michigan on Tuesday, February 10. Late that same day, Bridge’s school data and rankings provider, Public Sector Consultants, Inc., discovered it had made a computer programming error which slightly miscalculated fourth-grade writing scores for elementary schools.

Prior to publication, Public Sector Consultants repeatedly verified to Bridge that all Academic State Champ scores and rankings were correct. However, in responding to a reader question, Public Sector Consultants discovered the programming error and resulting miscalculation. (The miscalculation amounted to an Academic State Champs score change of an average of 0.3 points in a range of school scores from 80.2 to 137.) Since first identifying the problem late Tuesday, Public Sector Consultants: 1) conducted an exhaustive review of its Academic State Champs computer programming to search for any additional mistakes; 2) verified and confirmed to Bridge Wednesday evening that there are no other programming mistakes; 3) verified and confirmed to Bridge that the programming problem was confined to elementary school data and rankings; 4) fixed the programming error; and, 5) recalculated state champs scores and rankings for elementary schools. Bridge published the corrected elementary school data/rankings Wednesday evening. As a result of the recalculations:

  • Two schools not previously recognized as scoring in the top five percent of all elementary schools statewide are now recognized as Academic State Champs. Those schools are Laker Elementary in Pigeon and Vanguard Charter Academy in Wyoming.
  • Six other schools fell out of the top five percent and are now in the top six percent instead. Bridge and Public Sector Consultants continue to recognize those schools as Academic State Champs. Educators and students in those schools should not be punished by having their award taken away because of the computer programming error.
  • The other 59 elementary schools previously recognized as being Academic State Champs remain in the top five percent of the rankings and are still Academic State Champs.
  • While the individual Academic State Champ scores changed by an average of only 0.3 points, the Academic State Champ rankings are calculated out into the decimal points. As a result, in the recalculation, the ranking order of the 1,210 individual elementary schools has changed slightly for about half of the schools. Examples: A school previously ranked fifth is now ranked sixth and a school previously ranked 260th is now ranked 243rd.

Bridge has republished Public Sector Consultants’ revised elementary school scores and rankings.

Bridge’s previously published scores and rankings for 2,000 middle schools and high schools, and more than 500 school districts, were not impacted by the computer programming error. Since discovering the error, three separate Public Sector Consultants programmers and data experts have independently and separately re-checked thousands of lines of data and programing code and re-verified the accuracy of all Academic State Champs computer programing and the resulting school scores and rankings published by Bridge Magazine.

Public Sector Consultants deeply regrets its computer programming error and Bridge deeply regrets the resulting error in publication of the Academic State Champs results. We extend a particular apology to Vanguard Charter Academy and Laker Elementary for their delayed recognition as Academic State Champs.

Public Sector Consultants, Inc. and Bridge Magazine also offer our sincere apology to Bridge’s syndicated publishing partner, as well as MLive readers. The programming error also necessitated corrections and revisions to published content on MLive.


Jeff Williams | CEO | Public Sector Consultants, Inc.
Peter Pratt | President | Public Sector Consultants, Inc.
David Zeman | Editor | Bridge Magazine
John Bebow | President & CEO | The Center for Michigan / Bridge Magazine

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Martha Toth
Thu, 02/12/2015 - 10:33am
Well, good for you for the prompt apology and correction. This did, however, reveal that this competition is rather like those Olympiv victory margins of thousandths of a second. I've always thought those should be ties, since the difference is so insignificant.