In its first year participating in the magazine ratings, Glen Rock High School was ranked 287th. In the 2013 results that were released on Monday, the school moved up 69 notches to 218th. Paula Valenti, the schools superintendent told the Glen Rock Gazette, “Glen Rock High School is proud to be associated with the 2013 Newsweek report on America’s best high schools.” To establish the rankings, the Daily Beast and Newsweek analyze graduation rates, participation in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate Programs (IB), in addition to acceptance by two or four year colleges.
Valenti added, “The 2013 methodology was also updated to include a weighing of the percentage of students enrolled in an AP, IB or Advance International Certificate of Education (ACIE) course. It should also be noted that the Northeast produced 25% of the top schools.”
The report identified that the school’s 100 percent graduation rate, 98 percent college acceptance rate and average test scores (which were 1696 on SAT, 23.1 on ACT, and 3.6 on AP) are what contributed to this year’s improved ranking.
To form the basis of its comparative analysis, the daily beast and Newsweek reviewed statistics for more than 5,000 high schools. The data was weighed as follows: 25 percent for graduation rate, 25 percent for college acceptance rate, 25 percent for test taken per student, 10 percent for average SAT/ACT scores, 10 percent for average AP/IB/AICE scores and 5 percent for students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course.
In the explanatory commentary, the magazine noted that this year’s focus was on how challenging the courses are compared to last year’s focus, which was the overall size of the school’s curriculum. Glen Rock’s improved ranking highlights what Newsweek’s editors stated last year, “despite shrunken state coffers, the quality of public schools is by many measures improving.”
In fact, the national graduation rate has increased 4 percent, federal expenditure per student has increase an adjusted $1,400, and the number of advanced placement tests given per school has more than doubled over the last decade. Newsweek’s editors wrote, “The gold standard, of course is college readiness, and the numbers are bright there too: between 1999 and 2009, the proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds enrolled in college rose by 14 percent.”
Generally the schools ranking in the magazine’s top 1,000 are relatively small and located in metropolitan areas. Almost 75 percent have fewer than 2,000 students and over 25 percent are located in or near Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York. Schools that rank the highest focus significantly on challenging students with college-level academic programs.
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