Posted: 4:06 pm Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Suncoast, Dreyfoos again rank in top 100 on Washington Post’s “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” list 

By Allison Ross

Two Palm Beach County high schools — Suncoast in Riviera Beach and Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts in West Palm Beach — have again made the list of top 100 most challenging high schools in the nation, according to a ranking conducted by the Washington Post.

However, both slipped in their rankings from last year; Suncoast dropped from 12th to 16th this year, while Dreyfoos fell from 60th to 63rd.

The “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” list, which has been compiled by education columnist Jay Mathews since 1998, takes the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and divides it by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June.

The formula is meant to serve as a measure of how effectively a school prepares its students for college, not the overall quality of a school. The list excludes schools that are unusually selective and draws an unusually large number of top students; schools on the list must have an average SAT score below 2000 or an average ACT score below 29.3.

Mathew’s methodology has been criticized by some, who say his formula doesn’t accurately measure how challenging a school is. There are a number of other lists that rank high schools, including ones from Newsweek magazine and from U.S. News and World Report.

In addition to Suncoast and Dreyfoos, several other schools made the list of the top 1,000 most challenging high schools in the country:
210: Atlantic in Delray Beach
238: Spanish River in Boca Raton
291: Boca Raton High in Boca Raton
547: G-Star School of the Arts charter school in Palm Springs
631: Olympic Heights in suburban Boca Raton
644: William T. Dwyer in Palm Beach Gardens
666: Palm Beach Central in Wellington
670: Jupiter High in Jupiter
686: West Boca Raton High in suburban Boca Raton
713: Wellington High in Wellington
852: Palm Beach Gardens High in Palm Beach Gardens
966: Park Vista in suburban Lake Worth

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