In the recent U.S News and World Report ranking of high schools across the country, Rye High School ranked 11th in the State and 72nd in the country. Impressive rankings.
By Rye Record Staff
In the recent U.S News and World Report ranking of high schools across the country, Rye High School ranked 11th in the State and 72nd in the country. Impressive rankings. What are the community and parents to make of the survey when well-regarded peers such as Bronxville did not make the list and the top ranking school in Westchester County was Yonkers Middle High School?
The survey ranks schools by how many seniors take either Advance Placement or International Baccalaureate courses with extra weight if a student passes the exam, not just takes it. So, a school like Rye that allows any student to enroll in an AP course will be favored. In contrast schools like Scarsdale that restrict AP enrollments will not rank as well.
Further, schools like Yonkers Middle High School that use the International Baccalaureate curriculum for all students will do very well. Yonkers scored 100 on the survey’s rankings whereas Rye scored 81.4 and Scarsdale scored 52.5. These rankings reflect curriculum and enrollment policies of school districts more than effective educational outcomes.
Moreover, to even enter the rankings a school must have its economically disadvantaged and minority students perform better than statewide medians. When dealing with Rye’s peer districts in Westchester County, there are very few economically disadvantaged or minority students. And, the schools are generally quite small, so, the sample size of students that are measured is tiny and not statistically valid. It results in schools like Bronxville, Briarcliff and Hastings-on-Hudson not appearing at all despite in some cases AP enrollments that surpass Rye.
In fairness to U.S. News and World Report, their web-site has links to very useful data on every high school in the country. It is very impressive. With some work and some thought, a reader can come up with a much more nuanced view of how schools compare but, alas, it would not have the marketing punch of a “top-ten list”.
Late Breaking News: Newsweek Ranks Rye High 15th in the State.
If anything, Newsweek’s rankings are even more problematic than the U.S. News study. Seventy-five per cent of their ranking is determined by graduation rates, college acceptance rates, and number of AP exams taken. Grades are not a primary factor. By Newsweek’s calculations, Rye High School is virtually tied with Stuyvesant High School in the City, even though the average SAT at Stuyvesant is 2090 while Rye’s is 1782. And the average AP score at Stuyvesant is 4.3; Rye’s is 3.7.