Newsweek’s Top High Schools

Every year, Newsweek Magazine releases its “America’s Top Public High Schools” –  The schools are ranked by a very simple formula, the number of AP, IB or Cambridge Exams a school gives divided by the number of graduating seniors.  The schools are then ranked in descending order by this ratio.

Many have questioned the validity of this ranking system.  This calculation definitely favors schools with a small graduating class compared to its other classes (obviously graduating less students would not be considered a good attribute).  This calculation only takes into account the number of exams administered, and not the scores achieved.  Thus states who insist that all students in AP courses take the exams, or states/districts/schools who pay for students to take exams will typically rank higher than they would if students were to choose whether to take the exam and pay the exam fee.

One thing about the ranking is true, it is a way to rank schools nationally.  There are arguably better ways to rank schools, but until someone takes the time to develop it and publish it, we have this.

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