The most challenging high schools

Newsweek’s 100 Best High Schools in America have the most students taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. The list, which actually goes up to 1,000, includes the percentage of students eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch, the standard measure of poverty. The numbers are very low for most schools on the list but there are exceptions. Pensacola High in Florida has a 63 percent subsidized lunch rate yet ranks 8th. (But it gets only a “D” grade from the state of Florida.) Like many of the high-ranking schools with fairly high poverty rates, Pensacola has an IB program for some students. Mills University Studies in Little Rock is the highest ranking non-IB and non-magnet school with half the students in poverty: It has a special honors program that prepares students for AP courses. Again, test scores aren’t all that impressive for the average student.

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  2. Is there any value to this ranking?

  3. Cardinal Fang says:

    They rank the schools on how many kids take the AP tests. Not on how many get passing grades.

    So schools that shove tons of unprepared kids into AP classes get high rankings. What a stupid rating system.

  4. Fuzzy Rider says:

    Our local HS made the top 1000! – According to my son, everyone in his class laughed at the time they made the announcement over the intercom.

  5. the other flaw is that it is AP scores per graduate. a nearby school has its scores pumped up because 1/3 of its kids don’t graduate. Yes it’s on the top 200 list and yes it under NCLB sanctions.

    On the other hand, I would be interested to see some of the demographics of the top schools. From a quick pass, they tended to be smaller school under 800. But the info is hard to track down.