ICSEA for principals


ICSEA is a scale developed by ACARA to enable fair comparisons of schools. Your school’s ICSEA scale is calculated using a number of factors relative to your school (see below).

Each school on the My School website has an ICSEA value. This value provides an indication of the average level of educational advantage of students attending your school.

This is worked out by looking at certain student and school factors:

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

From this information, each school is given an ICSEA value:








The ICSEA value lets users of My School compare a school’s NAPLAN results wth other like schools in a fair and meaningful way. It also lets schools seeking to improve their performance learn from other schools serving similar students.

ICSEA is not a rating of schools

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

ICSEA lets us compare schools fairly

A school’s ICSEA value is used to select a group of up to 60 similar schools. 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.  

Why has the group of schools in my ‘Similar schools group’ potentially changed since last year?

As student cohorts change each year, so do the data used in the ICSEA calculation. For some schools, this results in a change in their ICSEA values from one year to the next. Therefore, some schools may find that their grouping of similar schools has changed since last year. 

For more information on how ICSEA is calculated, see our guide to understanding ICSEA values (PDF 332 kb).