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.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Not surprising

    I didn't attend either school, but I am not surprised that ETHS is ranked higher than New Trier

    1. Totally
      I agree… Getting beaten up, sexually assaulted, and shot at does prepare our kids much better for college……….

      1. Not Really

        I don't think you know what you're talking about if that's what you think the whole high school is like.


        Doug, ETHS Class of '15

      2. Evanston Township High School

        You may be right . . . if you plan to live in a world of Topsiders, country clubs, Mercedes Benzes and prep schools !  Reality is sometimes a tough thing to face.  If you plan to share yourself by helping the under-advantaged you're way off base.

      3. Proud alum 2001

        Your comment expresses the ignorance and stereotype of those who didn't attend ETHS and know nothing of the true value of the school.

        When an entire city attends the same school, both poor and affluent together, you are bound to have some students involved in unfortunate activities. However the vast majority of the student population achieves a high school experience similar to students at other suburban high schools.

        ETHS is home to great teachers, classes, students, facilities, and athletes. I never felt unsafe or threatened in my time at the school. I had the opportunity to participate in varsity athletics, AP classes, and a multitude of extracurriculars.

        When applying to Vanderbilt University, an admissions coordinator expressed that she has high expectations for ETHS applicants because they are well-rounded.

        I am grateful for my ETHS foundation which shaped my future and helped me thrive at the university and graduate levels. It is a shame people from other cities, whose schools who aren't subject to the variety and quantity of students as ETHS, take it upon themselves to demean and disrespect ETHS and all involved with the school by spreading misinformed, inaccurate information.

        ETHS is a far cry from the poor Chicago high schools. It is time everyone recognizes it for all of its worth, which is much better than bigoted rumors.

  2. Different Polls

    Different polls have different results.

    US News ranked Evanston 17th (452 nationally) and New Trier 13th  (351 nationally) in Illinois.

    Another Washington Post poll from 2011 showed Evanston not to be in the Illinois top 60 high schools for the precentage of graduates.


    All-in-all, this is a better showing for ETHS than in recent years but not nearly as good as they were 25-30 years ago.

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