High-challenge high schools

Once again, Oakland’s American Indian Public Charter High has topped the Washington Post‘s list of the nation’s most challenging high schools. The index measures the percentage of students taking a college-level exam. It also shows the percentage of students who qualify for a subsidized lunch and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test.

The Oakland school board revoked the charter of three high-scoring American Indian schools last year, due to financial improprieties. AIPCHS and its sister schools remain open on appeal.

The list excludes selective schools, such as Stuyvesant in New York City, and schools that attract primarily high achievers, such as BASIS Scottsdale, a charter that became very popular with parents of high achievers. Mathews explains:

We do not include any magnet or charter high school that draws such a high concentration of top students that its average SAT or ACT score exceeds the highest average for any normal-enrollment school in the country. This year, that meant such schools had to have an average SAT score below 2005 or an average ACT score below 29.3 to be included on the list.

The Challenge Index is designed to identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests. It does not work with schools that have no, or almost no, average students. We put those schools on our Public Elites list.

Here are alternative ways to rank high schools.

Two-thirds of the most challenging schools don’t field an 11-member football team, writes Mathews.

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Comments

  1. APs were originally developed for the top college-prep kids (in an era where tracking was the norm and unprepared kids didn’t enter college prep), who had already taken the honors-level HS courses. They were not intended for the “average” kids, many of whom never entered the college-prep program. I’d rather see emphasis placed on getting more kids ready for challenging HS work and giving it to them, and less on pushing unprepared kids into APs.

    • “number of college-level tests given at a school in the previous calendar year divided by the number of graduates”

      Test given?

      Should it not be based on tests passed with 3, 4 or 5?

  2. PhillipMarlowe says:

    American Indian?
    Aren’t they the schools where they do not reflect the neighboring public schools and where, in fact, a great number are Asian?
    But, it is believed that American Indians came over the land bridge from Korea.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      American Indian? Aren’t they the schools where they do not reflect the neighboring public schools and where, in fact, a great number are Asian?

      Yes.

      But, it is believed that American Indians came over the land bridge from Korea.

      The land bridge in question wasn’t from Korea.

      • PhillipMarlowe says:

        Thanks.
        Poor wording. I meant to type that the indigenous people came from Korea over the Beringa Land bridge.
        I recall reading that there were genome similarities found between Koreans and some Native Americans.