ARHS gets silver medal for college readiness from U.S News & World Report

by Beth Melo on April 29, 2014

U.S. News and World Report released a new ranking of best high schools across the nation this week. Algonquin Regional High School moved up 2 spots from the 2012 ranking of 25th in the state to 23rd.*

Ranking 502 in the nation, the “Silver Medal” winning school was just 2 spots short of a gold.

I’m guessing that some readers will be proud, and some will focus on why the school didn’t achieve better. (Ashland High School earned a Gold.)

The real issue may be the validity of the rankings.

The “Best High School” rankings focus exclusively on participation in and passing of college-level exams as proof of students’ “College Readiness”:

High school students take AP® and IB exams to earn college credit and demonstrate success at college-level course work. U.S. News calculated a College Readiness Index based on exam participation rates and percentages of students passing at least one exam.

Before being considered for the rankings, schools also had to pass criteria related to the success of disadvantaged students.

Hopkinton High School appears to have failed the criteria to be considered. However, based on Wicked Local’s coverage, it seems that may not have been their fault. The school’s disadvantaged students performance was listed as N/A. Wicked Local indicates that schools weren’t contacted about the rankings, so administrators may have not had the opportunity to provide the missing data.

Meanwhile, Weston seems to have aced the consideration criteria with better performance for disadvantaged than average students. But, they weren’t ranked. According to Wicked Local, Weston administrators are now trying to find out from U.S. News why they weren’t ranked. (It looks from the data if they had been ranked, ARHS would have moved down a notch.)

As for neighbor Ashland’s success, even their principal seems to be taking it with a grain of salt. Wicked Local quotes:

“They’re taking very selective material,” said [Jim] Adams, referring to test scores. “It doesn’t mean we’re meeting the needs of all our students”

Still interested in more ranking details?

  • Massachusetts is ranked 4th state in the nation
  • ARHS’ AP Exam participants had an 89% passing rate, but only 49% of the school’s 12th graders had passed at least one AP exam.
  • Below is the ARHS overview stats.

(click to enlarge)

To see the full detail and other schools’ rankings, visit U.S. News & World Reports.

*I don’t have access to the 2012 rankings, but Northborough Patch reported that ARHS ranked 25th for Massachusetts 2 years ago.

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