MCPS High Schools Shine in National Rankings

May 20, 2012
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) earned exceptional results on two national rankings of high school performance released Sunday (May 20, 2012).

MCPS placed five schools in the top 100 of the
Washington Post’s 2012 High School Challenge rankings. All 25 MCPS high schools appear in the rankings, which represents the top eight percent of the nation's high schools.

Additionally, nine MCPS high schools were ranked among the nation’s 1,000 best by
Newsweek/The Daily Beast on its list of America’s Best High Schools.  

“Our performance on these reports is another indicator that we are committed to giving all students access to classes that prepare them for college and the work place,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr. “These rankings are an acknowledgement of the hard work of our outstanding staff and the ongoing commitment of our community to provide every child an excellent education.”

The High School Challenge

The Washington Post’s High School Challenge is designed to identify high schools providing the greatest number of students access to Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and other college-level classes. The rankings use the Challenge Index, which divides the number of AP, IB or other college-level tests a school gave in 2011 by the number of graduating seniors. Only schools that had at least the same number of college-level tests taken as the school had graduates are included in the rankings. Therefore, only 1,848 out of the nation’s 22,000 high schools are included in the rankings. All MCPS high school made the list.

For the second year in a row, MCPS placed five schools in the top 100-- Poolesville (54), Richard Montgomery (77), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (88), Walter Johnson (89), and Winston Churchill (98). In the Washington D.C. region, MCPS had seven schools in the top 20, including the five listed above as well as Thomas S. Wootton and Walt Whitman. In the state of Maryland, MCPS had the top seven schools and eight of the top 10.

The Challenge Index was devised 15 years ago by
Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews.

See how MCPS schools performed on the High School Challenge

America’s Best High Schools

Two years ago, Newsweek and The Daily Beast website began ranking schools, also based on their success at preparing students for college, although using a different methodology. The list only ranks the top 1,000 high schools.

The nine MCPS schools on the America’s Best High Schools list are: Poolesville (81), Winston Churchill (150), Thomas S. Wootton (212), Walt Whitman (299), Richard Montgomery (365), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (434), Walter Johnson (475), Northwest (787) and Sherwood (992).

MCPS had more than one-third of the 23 Maryland high schools on the Newsweek list.

The formula includes graduation rate (25 percent), college matriculation rate (25 percent), AP, IB and other college-level tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP, IB and other college-level test scores (10 percent), and the number of AP courses offered  per student (5 percent).

Earlier this month, MCPS placed 11 high schools on
U.S. News and World Report’s Best High Schools report. 

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