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US News & World Report High School Rankings

posted Apr 28, 2014, 1:13 PM by Dawna Green   [ updated May 2, 2014, 12:50 PM ]
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Letter to the Community 

Recently, Greely High School was ranked 12th in US News and World Report’s “Best High Schools” list, a movement from 9th in 2013. This movement requires context to understand. 
When calculating “college readiness”, US New uses EITHER the number of students taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course/exam OR the number of students taking an International Baccalaureate (IB) course/exam (whichever is higher). Since Greely High offers BOTH courses, we are disadvantaged in this particular ranking.

Greely is one of only three high schools in Maine to offer both AP and IB courses. AP (Advanced Placement) courses are college-level, year-long classes offered in a variety of subjects followed by a standardized exam at the end of the school year. IB (International Baccalaureate) is a college level curriculum that offers 2 year courses in a variety of subjects. IB exams are internationally graded allowing our students to see how they stack up with their peers across the globe. 

The college readiness index is the largest driver of this ranking. Only Greely’s AP data was used for the US News college readiness index. According to Greely’s test data (below), 62% of seniors took at least one college level course with 38% taking at least one AP exam with a 75% passing rate AND an additional 24% taking at least one IB exam with a 91% 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. 

GHS Advanced Placement® (AP®) Student Performance

Participation Rate 38% 
Participant Passing Rate 75% 
Exams Per Test Taker 2.2 

GHS International Baccalaureate (IB) Student Performance

Participation Rate 24% 
Participant Passing Rate 91% 
Exams Per Test Taker 2.8 
(Data directly from US News News and World Report)

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 High will continue to offer these courses despite the formula used for this specific ranking.