Thursday, April 13, 2006

More rankings nonsense

Newsweek is at it again. For almost ten years now, they've been publishing a ranking of the top 100 high schools in America. Their methodology? Education writer Jay Mathews's laughably simplistic Challenge Index which simply looks at how many AP tests a school administers and divides it by the number of graduating seniors.

This is a bad way of finding the best high schools, for all the same reasons that I discussed last year.

This year, Sara Mead and Andrew Rotherham* of Education Sector have gone further and shown that many of the schools highlighted by Newsweek as the best in America have significant failings when it comes to things like the achievement gap and graduation rate. So while these schools successfully give their students AP tests, they fail at some pretty important indicators of educational quality. (The full report can be found as a pdf here).

Mathews's spirited defense (found as an appendix of the report) includes this gem: "The list is journalism, not scholarship." On that note, I have to agree.

*Disclosure: I helped a bit in the run-up to the publication of a book that Rotherham edited with my boss, Jane Hannaway. Collective Bargaining in Education is available through Amazon.


At Apr 30, 2006 6:00:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

danny loss is right with one caveat,its jive,not even "journalism" drops to this level.its preposterous that newsweek would publish this garbage.


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