San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 23rd, 2010
SMHS makes Newsweek list of best schools

061510smhsSan Marcos High School made the list of more 1,600 high schools Newsweek rated among best in the nation.


For the sixth year in a row, San Marcos High School ranked in in the top six percent of all public high schools in the country in Newsweek’s annual list of the best public schools. Newsweek’s Jay Matthews bases school placements on how hard the students are challenged by advanced placement college level courses and tests.

San Marcos High School ranked 1,357th out of more 1,600 schools selected.

“These are exceptional schools,” said Matthews of his selections. “Every one is in the top six percent of American high schools measured this way.”

Two other Hays County high schools made the list. Dripping Springs came in the highest at No. 829 nationally, while Wimberley High School edged onto the list at No. 1,537.

The ranking is based on an index determined by a ratio of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and/or Cambridge tests taken to the number of graduating seniors. That ratio came to 1.237 for San Marcos High School. Dripping Springs High School came in with a ratio of 1.777, while Wimberley High School came in at 1.079.

Of 127 Texas high schools that made the ratings, Dripping Springs came in 71st, San Marcos ranked 110th and Wimberley ranked 125th.

As to the percentage of seniors who actually passed an AP or IB test, Dripping Springs led the Hays County high schools with a passing percentage of 38.5, which ranked 54th among Texas high schools on the list. Wimberley had a passage rate of 17.4 percent, which was 111th among the Texas schools, while San Marcos’ passage rate of 14.3 percent was 118th.

The rankings also give percentages of students eligible for lunch subsidies. Among the Texas schools making the list, San Marcos had the 35th highest percentage in that regard. Newsweek put the figure at 48 percent. Wimberley had the 82nd highest Texas number at 20.7 percent, while Dripping Springs tied for the 14th lowest percentage at seven percent.

Another nearby school, New Braunfels High School, finished ahead of any Hays County high school, ranked 672nd nationally and 61st in Texas with a ratio of 2.018 advances tests per graduating senior. Newsweek said 26.5 percent of New Braunfels High School seniors passed an AP or IB test, while 34 percent of the schools students are eligible for lunch subsidies.

Matthews said that parents should not be concerned if their local school dropped in rank from the previous years because the number of schools making the list varies from year to year. While more than 1,600 schools made the list this year, the number of such schools last year, when San Marcos finished 1,061st, just crept higher than 1,500 schools.

“Many schools drop in rank each year because there is more competition to be on the list, but at the same time improve their ratio of tests to graduating seniors,” Mathews said. “That means they are getting better, and rank is even less significant.”

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0 thoughts on “SMHS makes Newsweek list of best schools

  1. Note that the rankings are based on the number of graduating seniors who take these classes, not the number of overall students who take them, so our low graduation rate actually benefits us.

    I think it is great that we have kids taking these classes, but we REALLY need to focus some energy and attention on lifting up those students who are being left behind, year after year.

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