Evanston Township High School ranks 651st among the nation’s 22,000 public high schools in a ranking conducted by the Washington Post that indexes the degree to which schools are preparing their students for success in college. This compares with New Trier High School in Winnetka at 945.
The ranking, published by the newspaper last week, is called the High School Challenge. It creates what it calls a “challenge index” by taking the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June.
The newspaper explains why it does not consider how well the students do on the tests in compiling its index, as it contends it is too easy for a school to game the system by encouraging only its top students to take the tests.
“AP, IB, and AICE are important,” the newspaper says, “because they give average students a chance to experience the trauma of heavy college reading lists and long, analytical college examinations.
“Research has found that even low-performing students who got only a 2 on an AP test did significantly better in college than similar students who did not take AP.”
Dr. Peter Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at ETHS, cited the rankings “as one indicator of the level of rigor of coursework at ETHS.” He attributed the school’s performance “as a result of our work on preparing more students for honors and Advanced Placement courses.”
He noted that the school has a variety of structures in place “that focus on expanding access to and success in Advanced Placement courses for many more students.”
Some 58 schools in Illinois were among those that scored high enough to make the newspaper’s list. ETHS ranked as the 14th highest school in the state. Others included Oak Park/River Forest at 19, Lake Forest at 23, Maine South in Park Ridge at 26, New Trier at 35, and Niles West in Skokie at 53.