MCPS High Schools Among the Nation’s Best

April 7, 2014
All MCPS high schools make High School Challenge list

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has eight of the nation’s top 200 high schools, according to the
Washington Post 2014 High School Challenge, which was released Monday (April 7, 2014). All 25 MCPS high schools made the list, which includes more than 2,000 public and private schools, representing the top 9 percent of the nation’s high schools.  

Two MCPS high schools—Poolesville and Richard Montgomery—were in the top 100 of the High School Challenge, which ranks schools based on the access they provide students to rigorous classes, including Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB).

“Providing all students the chance to take rigorous classes, like AP and IB, is an important part of preparing students to thrive in their future,” said Superintendent Joshua P. Starr. “Our strong performance on the 2014 High School Challenge is an indicator that our high school students want access to the classes that prepare them for college and the work place.”

“We must remain committed not only to providing access to these classes, but making sure our students are prepared to be successful,” Dr. Starr said.

The eight high schools in the top 200 of the High School Challenge list are Poolesville (68), Richard Montgomery (92), Winston Churchill (116), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (139), Walt Whitman (149), Walter Johnson (158), Thomas S. Wootton (162), and Quince Orchard (164). Overall, 22 of the district’s 25 high schools were in the top half of the list, which includes 2,025 high schools.

On the Washington, D.C., regional list, MCPS placed eight schools in the top 20. Statewide, MCPS had the top four schools on the Maryland list and placed ten high schools in the top 20.
The High School Challenge is based on the Challenge Index, a measure devised more than 15 years ago by Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews, to rank high schools on their ability to effectively prepare students for college. (
Learn more about the methodology)

MCPS is a national leader in AP participation and performance. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of 2013 MCPS graduates took at least one AP exam while in high school and more than half earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one exam.

More MCPS students are taking IB exams, as well. International Baccalaureate programs are offered at eight MCPS high schools and in 2013, 7.4 percent of MCPS graduates took at least one IB exam, which is up 1.8 percentage points since 2011.  The percentage of 2013 graduates earning a 4 or higher on at least one IB exam was 6.4 percent, up 1.3 percentage points since 2011. 

MCPS Performance on the High School Challenge  

Washington Post High School Challenge

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