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June 11th, 2009
SMHS makes Newsweek list for the fifth consecutive year

STAFF REPORT

San Marcos High School (SMHS) was included for the fifth consecutive time in Newsweek’s top 1,500 U.S. High School list, coming in at number 1,061.

The list, compiled by Jay Matthews, ranks the schools according to a formula he devised. The criteria includes the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2008 and divides by the number of graduating seniors.

“All of the schools on the list have an index of at least 1,000; they are in the top 6 percent of public schools measured this way,” said Matthews in a statement on Newsweek’s website.

Matthews’ formula also takes into consideration the percentage of students receiving federally subsidized meals and the portion of all graduating seniors at a high school that have had at least one passing grade on one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test.

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0 thoughts on “SMHS makes Newsweek list for the fifth consecutive year

  1. This measurement is severely flawed. Since it is based on the percentage of graduating seniors, it automatically takes the worst students (not graduating) out of the equation.

    It also only measures how many of those who graduate are doing exceptionally well. In this case, the report shows that 15% of our graduating seniors had at least one passing grade on one AP test. So 85% of the graduating seniors had no passing grades. It is safe to say that VERY few of those who did not graduate, passed any AP tests. This brings the percentage of all seniors who passed one or more AP test down to 11%

    The rating system measures the size of the top-tier, relative to the rest (minus the dropouts). It tells us nothing about the bulk of our students.

    It has never been disputed that we have some students who do quite well. It is the other 85-90% who are behind those top performers, many are WAY behind. In fact, we have 2-3 students who don’t graduate, for every 1 that passes an AP test. This report basically says that those students who are not in the top 11% don’t matter.

    Also, in case anyone is trying to do the math to figure out what this report is saying, the minimum index is 1.000, not 1,000.

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