Making a fair comparison - ICSEA

My School provides information that assists parents, school leaders, teachers and governments in understanding school performance. This information may be used to compare schools, but comparisons have to be fair. For example, a school in a wealthy suburb of a capital city has very different characteristics than a school in a remote location in regional Australia.

That is why we have developed a scale to support fair comparisons between similar schools. The ICSEA scale is an index of community socio-educational advantage. It is not the school’s NAPLAN results.

A school's ICSEA value

Each school on the My School website has an ICSEA value. That value provides an indication of the level of the school’s educational advantage.

This is worked out by looking at certain factors – for each student and for the school:

  • parents’ occupation
  • parents’ education
  • a school’s geographical location
  • proportion of Indigenous students.

From this information, an ICSEA value is calculated for each school:



The ICSEA value lets you compare a school’s NAPLAN results with other similar schools, in a fair and meaningful way. It also lets schools seeking to improve their performance learn from other schools similar to them.

ICSEA is not a rating of schools

ICSEA provides an indication of the socio-educational backgrounds of a school’s students  and some school characteristics; it has nothing to do with the school’s staff, facilities or teaching programs. ICSEA is not a school rating; it was developed to allow fair comparisons between schools.

ICSEA lets us make fair comparisons of schools  

A school’s ICSEA value is used to select a group of up to 60 similar schools to enable fair comparisons of how a school is doing . Schools with students who have similar levels of educational advantage will have similar ICSEA values, even though they may be located in different parts of Australia and may have different facilities and resources.


An average NAPLAN result is calculated for the 60 schools to enable a comparison with the selected school’s own NAPLAN results. This comparison can be found on the ‘NAPLAN results’ pages of My School.


Further detailed technical information about ICSEA, how it was created, and how it is used can be found on the ‘Technical information’ page of this website.