The Complete List of the 1,000 Top U.S. Schools, from Newsweek
Public schools are ranked according to a ratio devised by Jay Mathews: the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school in 2004 divided by the number of graduating seniors.
Chapel Hill comes out looking damn good here:
- East Chapel Hill
- Chapel Hill
And, if you’ll forgive a bit of gloating, my alma mater:
Ok, so it’s a full 400 schools lower on the list than the schools around here. But it is in the safest city in the US. Take that, Chapel Hill. (Of course, Chapel Hill isn’t actually included in the list of cities reviewed for safeness… probably because it’s a town, not a city. Oh well.)
My high school:
Rank|School Name | City | State | Index | Per Cent Reduced Lunch
161 | East Mecklenburg* | Charlotte | N.C. | 2.446 | 31.9
I apparently graduated from no. 91 on the list, something I could not BELIEVE since I was not impressed at all with how our school used young teachers for 3 years, then fired them before they made tenure.
Then I saw this:
“Public schools are ranked according to a ratio devised by Jay Mathews: the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school in 2004 divided by the number of graduating seniors.”
They’re not testing quality of teaching or quality of the school. They’re just seeing who can push the most students into AP tests, regardless of how prepared they are for them. It doesn’t say that they needed to get a 3 – the usual minimum acceptable score by colleges – only that the students took the test.
Articles that use this criteria and then tout these schools as “the best in the country” make me see red. Where is the accountability for honest reporting? Do we even care about quality of teaching anymore, or is all about the testing?
I’d tend to agree with Trish. Newsweek’s metric also gives an advantage to smaller schools, for which one additional AP-taking student will have a greater effect on the rank of a school with a smaller graduating class. Likewise, schools whose student body is stratified (the “Yale-or-Jail” effect) look good, as students who drop out aren’t counted.
… and how is it that Brookline (#819) trails Newton South (#478) by *that* much?! 🙂