Letter: Magazine's methodology disadvantages Greely HS

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Recently, Greely High School was ranked 12th in US News and World Report’s “Best High Schools” list, a movement from ninth in 2013. This movement requires context to understand. When calculating “college readiness,” US News uses either the number of students taking an Advanced Placement course/exam or the number of students taking an International Baccalaureate course/exam (whichever is higher). Since Greely offers both courses, we are disadvantaged in this particular ranking.

Only Greely’s AP data was used for the US News college readiness index. The college readiness index is the largest driver of this ranking. According to Greely’s test data, 62 percent of seniors took at least one college-level course, with 38 percent taking at least one AP exam with a 75 percent passing rate, and an additional 24 percent taking at least one IB exam with a 91 percent passing rate. If both indicators had been used, our placement on this list would have been higher. Greely’s placement is likely to move annually unless US News changes its metric.

These rankings simplify a complex endeavor. For some, they provide a source of pride, while others use rankings to measure the quality of education. In our case, the formula does not reflect Greely students’ college readiness performance. We believe both AP and IB programs are valuable preparation for our students. I am proud of our students’ accomplishments. Greely will continue to offer these courses despite the formula used for this specific ranking.

Sally Loughlin, interim superintendent
School Administrative District 51