Recently, “Newsweek” came out with its annual list of “America’s Best High Schools.” The methodology that “Newsweek” used in their high school rankings changed this year, but there remains a major flaw to their rankings. 25% of the ranking consists of four-year on time graduation rate. 25% consists of the percentage of graduates who enrolled immediately in college. 10% is average SAT or ACT score. 10% is average AP / IB / AICE exam score. 5% is AP / IB / AICE courses offered per graduate. And 25% is AP / IB / AICE exams per graduate (the total number of exams taken divided by the number of seniors).
That last metric in the methodology should be revised and we’ve been supporting this high school ranking change for years. If students sign their names and fill in bubbles randomly, they’ll get a 1 on an AP exam and that’ll reflect well on that school’s “Newsweek” ranking for their high school because the actual scores on the AP or IB or AICE exams don’t factor into the equation. By that standard, some high schools may encourage students who have no business taking an AP exam to complete the test simply to boost their “Newsweek” high school ranking. Schools that offer AP courses only to selective students are, therefore, penalized. We expect “Newsweek” will eventually see this flaw to their rankings and adjust their methodology accordingly.
Anyway, let’s check out this year’s high school rankings by “Newsweek.” Topping the list this year is the School of Science and Engineering, a magnet school in Dallas, Texas. Right behind is the School for the Talented and Gifted also in Dallas, TX, followed by BASIS Tucson in Tucson, Arizona, Stanton College Preparatory in Jacksonville, Florida, Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Jefferson County IB School in Birmingham Alabama, and Signature School in Evansville, Indiana. See the full “Newsweek” high school rankings.