Wednesday, April 24, 2013

US News Ranks Janesville Craig and Parker Two of Wisconsin’s Best High Schools

U.S. News & World Report has released its most recent list of High School Rankings.  Under the leadership of Superintendent Karen Schulte, Janesville Craig High School is ranked 18 in the state of Wisconsin out of 459 high schools, placing Craig in the top four percent in Wisconsin.  Janesville Parker High School is ranked 36 in the state, placing Parker in the top eight percent in Wisconsin.  Janesville Craig is ranked 1,511 out of 21,035 high schools nation-wide placing Craig in the top eight percent in the country while Parker scored a ranking of 1,980 and placed in the top 10 percent nationally.  U.S. News awarded more than 4,805 gold, silver, and bronze medals to the top-performing schools in the nation.  Both Craig and Parker received a 2013 silver medal.  Parker also received a silver medal in 2012. 

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Director Kim Ehrhardt attributed the success of both high schools to district efforts designed to improve student achievement for students identified in sub groups.  High school students identified in the low-income category placed nine percent better in reading when compared to the state average in that category and 12 percent higher in math.  African American students from Janesville high schools scored three percent better for reading and 10 percent for math.  Hispanic populations were 20 percent better in reading and 15 percent better in math.  Secondary efforts associated with the development of school improvement plans, data retreats, pacing charts and curriculum-based assessments are strategic tools that both Parker and Craig have embraced that help raise student achievement for all students in the School District of Janesville.

According to the U.S.News and World Report website, U.S. News partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research (AIR), which implemented U.S. News’s rankings methodology. To determine the Best High Schools national rankings, schools were first analyzed at the state level in terms of how well students in each school performed on state assessments, taking into account the test scores of disadvantaged students (low-income, Hispanic, and black), who tend to score lower on tests.  According to the Associated Press, Robert Morse, director of data research with U.S. News and World Report, said the publication gathers enrollment numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data database. “The federal statistics center, run through the U.S. Department of Education, collects and analyzes school data from state and local officials,” the AP reported.

U.S. News’s comprehensive rankings methodology is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound; and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators. They analyzed 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th grade enrollment and sufficient data, primarily from the 2010-2011 school year, to analyze.

High schools that made it through this analysis were then eligible to be ranked nationally, in terms of college readiness. U.S. News determines the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work by analyzing student success in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, both of which include college-level courses. 

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