U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Happy Halloween!
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-12-2009, 11:33 AM
 
131 posts, read 194,616 times
Reputation: 74
Matthews' index is what it is, the percentage of students taking AP/IB tests, nothing more and nothing less. To use this index to rank schools is ridiculous. US News has a weighted system of many criteria to rank colleges, and there are still big controversy about it.

Schools should be measured by how well they bring out the best of students' potentials. If you put all the TJ students in any other school in Fairfax county, I bet that school will rank #1 in terms of test scores.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-12-2009, 11:44 AM
 
2,528 posts, read 5,042,719 times
Reputation: 820
Quote:
Originally Posted by novajs View Post
Matthews' index is what it is, the percentage of students taking AP/IB tests, nothing more and nothing less. To use this index to rank schools is ridiculous. US News has a weighted system of many criteria to rank colleges, and there are still big controversy about it.
More specifically...

Quoted from Wikipedia.org --> Since 1998, Newsweek has periodically published a "Best High Schools in America" list,[9] a ranking of public secondary schools based on the Challenge Index, which measures the ratio of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams taken by students to the number of graduating students that year, regardless of the scores earned by students or the difficulty in graduating.
Schools with average SAT scores above 1300 or average ACT scores above 27 are excluded from the list; these are categorized instead as "Public Elite" High Schools. In 2008, there were 17 Public Elites.[10]


The Challenge Index is a method for the statistical ranking of top public high schools in the United States by Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews. This ranking is determined by the extent of availability of the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs in the school's curriculum and the number of graduating students

The validity of the Challenge Index has been strongly criticized by education analysts Andrew J. Rotherham and Sara Mead of Education Sector in Washington, DC. Their 2006 paper,Challenged Index showed how many schools that are among the top 100 nationally, according to Newsweek, actually have high dropout rates and wide gaps in achievement separating students by race and income.


Now read this article --> http://www.educationsector.org/resea...?doc_id=358299

Last edited by VRE332; 06-12-2009 at 12:00 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 08:38 AM
 
154 posts, read 292,317 times
Reputation: 39
Default Hi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by live_strong28 View Post
Matthews's philosophy and approach to figuring out his technique to rank the schools is incredibly flawed.

He works for the Post, which owns Newsweek, so this gives him the podium to further push his flawed ranking system.

If anyone has ever had an exchange with him on the post online chat, you'd realize that he is also very unsure of whether his approach is correct, and constantly requests feedback on how it can be tweaked.
I have been reading most of the posts but from the first post I was wondering how can the Newsweek article be unbiased if the person producing the results lives in/near the NoVA area and works for the Washington Post? I agree with live_strong28. I would like to believe the information because we love nothern VA and plan to move there in a month but I don't want to get my hopes up and move my sons to a county that boasts they are the best but then it turns out, the schools are really just average and only the best for the students who are already "gifted and talented" and taking the AP exams, etc.

And how weird is it that the actual results aren't important in this debate? I think this list should be based off of SOL testing since it covers a larger demographic of each school. And SOL testing shows just how much each student is really learning. To me, parents would receive a more accurate idea of which school is really the best for their child and how much their child is learning. This is how schools are rated at greatschools.com (along with some other results) and I find this to be more accurate. I only have my oldest in Kindergarten so in order to prepare for which high school he would go to, I can't go off of AP scores when I am not sure my child will ever be in Advanced Placement courses. But I can definitely rely on SOL testing scores to help me make a better decision of which school system my sons would thrive in the most and which school system would help them to better prepare for college.

This is just my take on things.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 08:44 AM
 
154 posts, read 292,317 times
Reputation: 39
Default AP, IB and everything else...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VRE332 View Post
More specifically...

Quoted from Wikipedia.org --> Since 1998, Newsweek has periodically published a "Best High Schools in America" list,[9] a ranking of public secondary schools based on the Challenge Index, which measures the ratio of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams taken by students to the number of graduating students that year, regardless of the scores earned by students or the difficulty in graduating.
Schools with average SAT scores above 1300 or average ACT scores above 27 are excluded from the list; these are categorized instead as "Public Elite" High Schools. In 2008, there were 17 Public Elites.[10]


The Challenge Index is a method for the statistical ranking of top public high schools in the United States by Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews. This ranking is determined by the extent of availability of the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs in the school's curriculum and the number of graduating students

The validity of the Challenge Index has been strongly criticized by education analysts Andrew J. Rotherham and Sara Mead of Education Sector in Washington, DC. Their 2006 paper,Challenged Index showed how many schools that are among the top 100 nationally, according to Newsweek, actually have high dropout rates and wide gaps in achievement separating students by race and income.


Now read this article --> Education Sector: Research and Reports: Challenged Index

I think the rankings should include the scores of AP, IB, SOL testing and a few other factors in order to be a truly rounded out estimate of which schools are actually the best, especially when considering the article is saying the schools are the best in the entire US. I would like to see more factual evidence.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 08:50 AM
 
715 posts, read 1,357,571 times
Reputation: 95
Mathews recently answered a reader question this past Thursday in the weekly section and came out and said that he places zero emphasis on a school's test scores because he thinks test scores are directly attributed to the school/parents wealth. Instead, his "ranking" is based on how a school prepares a kid for college and that means his flawed "#AP classes/#seniors" ratio.

If you want to pay any attention to Jay Matthews and his rankings, focus instead on his "equity in excellence" ratio which gives an actual indication of not just the # of AP classes taken, but whether the kids actually get a passing score. This E in E ratio though, is not factored into his rankings. I actually quizzed him on his "challenge index" ratio on his Post web chat, and from there on, he established the E in E ratio.

"After each school's name is its Equity and Excellence rate, the percentage of all seniors who have had at least one score on an AP, IB or Cambridge test that would qualify them for college credit. The average Equity and Excellence rate for all U.S. schools is about 15 percent."

2008 Challenge Index | washingtonpost.com
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 08:51 AM
 
154 posts, read 292,317 times
Reputation: 39
Smile Hi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by VRE332 View Post
I think a good measure of school rankings should be something like a 10-year post ranking. An example would be % graduates employed, % graduation rate, whether student received a graduate degree. I can say for a fact my high school was not that great, but a lot of fellow bottom 50% students bloomed into some nice careers; wheres some "good test takers" ended up in rehab...etc.

I don't think that the school rankings should go that far because if the school gave a great education, it provided a great education. I don't think it's anyone's fault what the children chose to do with that education once they graduated.

I know for my school, it was fairly accurate. I went to Osbourn High School in Manassas, VA and the children who were "popular" and relied on their looks and charisma, ended up in jail or being really nothing after they graduated. The children who worked hard to get good grades, went on to have good careers, some even have great careers. And the children who were especially talented, have awesome careers, like my friend Alex who is an accountant.

As a mother, I am comfortable with the school rankings only being based off of what the school is actually doing for the students, what the students are learning and how they do on the tests that show how much they have really learned. I think this is accurate enough. Whatever the students choose to do after high school is really up to them. The sky is the limit and people get what they put into their education. If people are slackers then they probably won't do well, even if the school provided a stellar education. If the children work hard, whether they are super smart or just very hardworkers...like I was...they will go far.

Here is a great link that helped me decide how I would go about preparing my little guys for college: http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnews/20090910/ts_usnews/whichhighschoolstudentsaremostlikelytograduatefrom college (broken link)

From past experience, I believe this was fairly accurate and I was glad to learn of this information because not all of us are super rich and can afford the best schools/private schools...lol. Enjoy!

Last edited by NOVAChick; 09-27-2009 at 09:06 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 08:54 AM
 
154 posts, read 292,317 times
Reputation: 39
Default Very interesting....

Quote:
Originally Posted by live_strong28 View Post
Mathews recently answered a reader question this past Thursday in the weekly section and came out and said that he places zero emphasis on a school's test scores because he thinks test scores are directly attributed to the school/parents wealth. Instead, his "ranking" is based on how a school prepares a kid for college and that means his flawed "#AP classes/#seniors" ratio.

If you want to pay any attention to Jay Matthews and his rankings, focus instead on his "equity in excellence" ratio which gives an actual indication of not just the # of AP classes taken, but whether the kids actually get a passing score. This E in E ratio though, is not factored into his rankings. I actually quizzed him on his "challenge index" ratio on his Post web chat, and from there on, he established the E in E ratio.

"After each school's name is its Equity and Excellence rate, the percentage of all seniors who have had at least one score on an AP, IB or Cambridge test that would qualify them for college credit. The average Equity and Excellence rate for all U.S. schools is about 15 percent."

2008 Challenge Index | washingtonpost.com

This all sounds very interesting. I will be sure to read that information over but I think he should include the scores too. Why does it matter how well the school prepares the students if they are all failiing the tests? That sounds a bit redundant to me. Thanks for posting that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 09:11 AM
 
5,698 posts, read 5,615,787 times
Reputation: 2302
Much of what makes a good school is the socio-economic status of its student body.

My daughter attended both a Prince William County public high school and then a private school located in Fairfax County. Most of my friend's kids attend public school in Fairfax County.

I see very little, if any difference, between the curriculum and methods of teaching between either Prince William County or Fairfax County Public School systems.

I see a *world* of difference between the socio-economic status of the students that populate these school systems. And if you don't think that the the experiences in the home (parents with a higher level of education, money, and varied exposures in childhood) don't effect the "test scores" of these kids, then you (the general you) aren't taking enough into account. That's why I almost sort of side with Jay Mathews assessments (he has a good article in this past Saturday's real estate section, BTW). PWC has much more economically depressed students than Fairfax and it shows in the test scores. However, PWC turns out some excellent students that go onto get into very good colleges and are productive human beings. The education is there for the taking if you can do it.

For me, it wasn't about the best test scores that a school had. I wanted to make sure that my child was in an environment where she didn't feel like she was so different from everyone else there, where she didn't feel threatened, and where her peers that surrounded her were goal-oriented towards higher education and responsibility.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 09:38 AM
 
154 posts, read 292,317 times
Reputation: 39
Smile Hi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
Much of what makes a good school is the socio-economic status of its student body.

My daughter attended both a Prince William County public high school and then a private school located in Fairfax County. Most of my friend's kids attend public school in Fairfax County.

I see very little, if any difference, between the curriculum and methods of teaching between either Prince William County or Fairfax County Public School systems.

I see a *world* of difference between the socio-economic status of the students that populate these school systems. And if you don't think that the the experiences in the home (parents with a higher level of education, money, and varied exposures in childhood) don't effect the "test scores" of these kids, then you (the general you) aren't taking enough into account. That's why I almost sort of side with Jay Mathews assessments (he has a good article in this past Saturday's real estate section, BTW). PWC has much more economically depressed students than Fairfax and it shows in the test scores. However, PWC turns out some excellent students that go onto get into very good colleges and are productive human beings. The education is there for the taking if you can do it.

For me, it wasn't about the best test scores that a school had. I wanted to make sure that my child was in an environment where she didn't feel like she was so different from everyone else there, where she didn't feel threatened, and where her peers that surrounded her were goal-oriented towards higher education and responsibility.
Great point, Christine! We are black but at my high school in PWC, Osbourn High School, I grew up around Asians, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Indians and so on. I really enjoyed the diversity. Also b/c I am a military brat so I was used to being around a lot of different races. I think it helped me culturally to adjust to today's society. I admit, the education could have been better. 10 years ago, my school was supposedly the better school in the area. We moved from one side of the city to the other side to be in a better neighborhood and better schools. Osbourn High School had more money and affluent parents around but since then, I think all of this has greatly changed. I am not sure why b/c I have not lived in the area since I graduated, I went into the Army myself and left right after high school but I have since then been back and was shocked at how bad Manassas looks now. The overall look is a bit rundown when it used to be one of the better areas.

Osbourn High School could have done better education-wise. Metz Junior High school was ok and offered students high school credits if they wanted to get an early start. But I think the students could have been taught more information and pushed more to take what we were learning seriously. No one seemed to push us so unless you wanted to succeed, you fell between the cracks. I graduated with honors and since then have received one degree with honors and am working on my second degree. But I think I could have gotten into better colleges if I had been better prepared through my education and from my teachers and parents. I wasn't and I don't want to do that to my sons. Which is why I am researching schools and I do not plan to live in Manassas. I am not looking down on anything, I just want my sons to go to school where education is taken seriously b/c my husband and I take it seriously.

I will see if I can find that article you are talking about online b/c I don't live in the NoVa area yet. I know you might know from my other thread that we will be there next month.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,525 posts, read 1,946,416 times
Reputation: 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
I see a *world* of difference between the socio-economic status of the students that populate these school systems. And if you don't think that the the experiences in the home (parents with a higher level of education, money, and varied exposures in childhood) don't effect the "test scores" of these kids, then you (the general you) aren't taking enough into account. That's why I almost sort of side with Jay Mathews assessments (he has a good article in this past Saturday's real estate section, BTW). PWC has much more economically depressed students than Fairfax and it shows in the test scores. However, PWC turns out some excellent students that go onto get into very good colleges and are productive human beings. The education is there for the taking if you can do it.

For me, it wasn't about the best test scores that a school had. I wanted to make sure that my child was in an environment where she didn't feel like she was so different from everyone else there, where she didn't feel threatened, and where her peers that surrounded her were goal-oriented towards higher education and responsibility.
A friend of mine recently received her VA teacher's license after completing a "career changer" program (she formerly was a gov't lawyer). For her student teaching, she taught AP government at a FCPS high school. As a comparison, one of her children took AP government in another FCPS high school last year. At her student teaching location, a very large majority of the students were readying for college. It was always the expectation they would go to college so it was not a question of "if" but "where" they would attend.

At her student's high school last year, the very large majority of students weren't sure if they would go to college at all. The expectations of the class were so very different just from where the bar was placed.

This "expectations of the peers in the classroom" is something that is very hard to measure and quantify.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top