Washington Post ranks Manual in top 10% of “Most Challenging” high schools

Washington Post ranks Manual in top 10% of “Most Challenging” high schools

Joey Demarco

The Washington Post has ranked Manual 177th out of 2062 in “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” in the 2013 edition of its annual ranking of the top schools in the country.  The ranking places Manual in the top 10% of schools on the list.

Schools were ranked based on the number of college-level tests (AP tests) given per graduate, as well as percentage of students whose families qualify for lunch subsidies, and the number of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career.

Despite decreasing 11 spots from its 2012 ranking of 166, Manual managed to increase its overall score on the “Challenge Index” from 4.153 to 4.436, showing an overall improvement in the past year.

According to the site’s description, only 9% of public high schools reach the standard for placement on the list, giving a number of college-level tests greater than or equal to the number of graduating students.

Contrary to lists such as the Newsweek rankings, “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” does not consider how well students perform on these tests, as the site “found that most high schools kept these rates artificially high by only allowing top students to take the courses.”

The rankings also do not include schools that “have no, or almost no, average students.”  Schools must have an average SAT score below 2000 or an average Act score below 29.3 to be included on the list.

This is due to the stated purpose of the Challenge Index: “To identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests.”  There is a separate “Public Elites list” for schools that exceed the set test score limits.

The ranking comes light of other successful placements on national lists, such as those of Newsweek and US News and World.  For the complete rankings of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” click here.  For more on Manual’s other national rankings, click here.