It’s back to school time, and that means it’s time for another completely arbitrary ranking of our educational institutions! US News and World Report set loose on our high schools, and have come up with the latest, greatest, most up-to-date rankings… using data from two years ago! (You’re probably valuing your house based on old prices too!)
We also have the Newsweek numbers, which carry much less weight for two reasons: Newsweek is now just a subsidiary of The Daily Beast, and they don’t have the same concern as US News that a school needs to do well by all its students. The Newsweek stats are skewed beyond belief toward college readiness, and only college readiness. So let’s ignore them for now.
The top 100 schools that survived US News’ “three part” testing were given the “Gold Medal” and ranked 1 through 100 based on a “College Readiness Index,” showing how many of their students took AP or IB exams. A few of these top schools actually scored a perfect 100, which meant every single student took at least one college-level exam. That Quality Adjusted number is the exams actually passed, as opposed to taken.
Two states couldn’t survive this rigorous data-parsing at all, so all high schools in Nebraska and Oklahoma were thrown into the trash-heap of non-Specialness! The other 48 states plus the District of Columbia had all their high schools thrown into the Mixmaster of Mystery. But you don’t care which school had the highest score unless you could consider sending your kids there while holding down your high-paying job at the Googleplex! So here are the Bay Area schools that got the Gold, and the third-highest school may be a surprise.
Schools within 20 miles of Google are conveniently marked in Bay Area Blue.
|Rank||School Name||Quality Adjusted exams per test-taker||College Readiness Index (CRI)||Rank in 2009|
|7||Pacific Collegiate School
|28||Lowell High School
|36||Mission San Jose HS
|67||Henry M. Gunn HS
|70||Monta Vista HS
|83||Palo Alto HS
Unfortunately, the Silver and Bronze medal schools aren’t conveniently (I mean meaninglessly) ranked. But here are the Bay Area also-rans, because I’m sure you’re looking for your kids’ or your own school and wondering if you made this “grade” for the bragging rights. Silver Medal schools met the same criteria as Gold, they just didn’t score as well on the CRI and thus missed the Top 100. The cut-off for Silver is a CRI of 20.0.
Bay Area Schools Ranked Silver Medal
(no rankings given, but sorted by CRI)
|School Name||CRI||Poverty Adjusted Performance||2009 Silver Results|
|Mountain View HS
|San Ramon Valley HS
|George Washington HS
|Monte Vista HS
|Galileo Academy of Science & Technology, San Francisco||30.8||1.09||27.5|
|Lionel Wilson College Prep (Charter), Oakland||30.1||1.72||—|
Bronze Medal schools did well on state tests (parts 1 and 2 of their filtering) but not college-readiness (taking and passing AP or IB exams). .
Bay Area Schools Ranked Bronze Medal (no rankings given)
|School Name||CRI||Poverty Adjusted Performance||2009 Bronze?|
|Alameda Community Learning Center, Alameda||N/A||1.24||Yes|
|Alameda Science & Technology Institute, Alameda||N/A||1.53||No|
|Geyserville Educational Park HS
|Middle College HS
Honorable Mention schools are the reverse of the Bronzes: they have the college readiness scores but fell down on the state test results. There are only two California schools with Honorable Mention. Here is the Bay Area entry:
Bay Area Schools with Honorable Mention
|School Name||CRI||Poverty Adjusted Performance||2009 HM?|
|Summit Preparatory Charter High, Redwood City||83.1||0.85||No|
This school may seem familiar to you: it’s the Bay Area charter featured in Waiting for Superman.
So getting back to that surprising Fremont showing, here’s one reason why Mission San Jose blew Monta Vista, Lynbrook, Gunn, and Paly out of the water. Turns out Useless News and World Distort ranked the schools a lot of different ways. Here’s one of their rankings that MSJ also did well on.
So, home prices in the Fremont Hills should be higher than Palo Alto or Cupertino? Why or why not?
Oh, yeah, Newsweek’s Top 500 School list, as if anyone cares. Not one Cupertino school. Paly isn’t on the list either. Or Lowell! The score is made up of the graduation rate (25%), the matriculation to college rate (25%), AP tests per graduate (25%), average SAT scores (10%), average AP/IB test scores (10%), and AP classes offered (5%). And note that again, AP tests per graduate, not per test taker. Riiiiiight. Because we can’t have kids not going to college in our “best” high schools.
The Newsweek Nonsense of Supposed High School Bestness: Bay Area
|Rank||School||City||Stu/Tea ratio||grad rate||AP/IB tests||college bound %||Average SAT||Newsweek score|
|42||Henry M. Gunn||Palo Alto||28||98||4.1||96||1942||1.072|
|61||Mission San Jose||Fremont||27||99||3.5||94||1958||0.949|
|132||Summit Prep Charter||Redwood City||26||94||4.7||100||1610||0.63|
|497||George Washington||San Francisco||34||95||1.9||91||1441||0.092|
No, I can’t walk home with you, I got band practice.