Major errors in US News "Best Schools" report

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, May 9, 2012.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/may/09/us-news-looking-reports-erroneous-data-best-high-s/

    One of the high schools in town was listed in 13th place on US News' Best Schools report. Yay, right? The problem is that the data used was incorrect.

    From the article:

    The U.S. News rankings showed that the Henderson school had 477 students and 111 teachers, making its student-teacher ratio 4-to-1. The school also had a 100 percent passing rate on the Advanced Placement exam, according to the rankings.

    Green Valley actually has 2,850 students, a student-teacher ratio closer to 24-to-1 and a 64 percent AP passing rate, Horn said. He added that he believed the data for several other Las Vegas high schools were incorrect in the U.S. News rankings.


    That's a pretty serious error, don't you think? I wonder how many other schools are on that list but shouldn't be....
     
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  3. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    well for their AP methodology they only used the number of 12th graders to determine the pass rate for AP tests. I know at my school only about 1/2 of the people taking AP tests are 12th graders (because of APUSH, AP Language, and other subject tests) but those numbers are included, which is why my high school shows 100% AP pass rate when in actuality our pass rates, although great, are not close to being that high across the board.

    But, the student-teacher ratio being that far off is pretty unacceptable...they should do a better job fact-checking than that. But, in my old days in corporate america, you would be surprised how hard it is to determine the number of full time employees you actually employ in a particular location (sometimes due to faulty tracking, sometimes due to operator error, and sometimes due to managers intentionally "hiding" employees).
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In this case they had the correct number of teachers. It was the number of students that they got wrong; that number was off by like 2,000.
     
  5. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    What is considered a pass on an AP exam? Is it a 4?
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's a 3. According to the report, the top 26 schools all had 100% pass rates on the AP tests.
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Our school, despite being quite good, will never have those kinds of rate for the AP test. We have so few students take them because the two most popular colleges in the area do not accept them. Hard to motivate students to pay all of that money for a worthless test.

    I graduated from one of the "public elites." I know that student/teacher ratios and test scores do not give the whole picture of a school.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think the point is that probably no schools will have those kinds of rates for the AP test. Even the very best schools will have kids who have bad days and end up with a 2 on an AP test.
     
  9. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    In my school, 93% of students get 4's or 5's on the AP. I think it's ridiculously high.
     
  10. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Haha, well I wouldn't expect them to be able to get the exact number of students right, either, but of course they shouldn't be 2,000 off either...

    Reminds me of an Econ class I took in college...professor was really bad and after the second week most people stopped going to lectures...about 250 in the class (large public university) and about 50 showing up each week...day of the final it's packed, and when we hands out the exams, he was tons short...says "I don't understand, I counted the number of people here on the last day and made that many tests..." Either he was the biggest idiot ever or he was trying to teach us a lesson to come to class, but he only punished the people like me who came every day but had to wait an hour for him to run off and make more copies.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    In some schools in my home city, teachers would literally tell kids who took the AP classes that they couldn't all take the test (if the teacher thought they wouldn't pass, they were told not to take it). This was mostly the catholic high schools that were dependent on high rankings in order to attract more students. In my HS job I worked with several people that went to those schools and they were constantly telling me things like that.

    In my HS, there were only 8 of us senior year who took AP English. So one failing score would seriously bring down that percentage! You had to get a teacher's recommendation to take AP, but if parents insisted they could override that, so you also sometimes had kids who shouldn't have been in the class in the first place trying to take the test.
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Passing is a 3 I'm pretty sure.
     
  13. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I don't understand why passing is a 3 though. Do any colleges actually give credit for a 3 on the AP?
     
  14. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    3 is passing in general, but for different tests or different schools, getting a 3 might get you credit or it might not. When I was in school, a 3 on English language or lit didn't waive the requirements, you had to get a 4 or higher to get out of freshmen composition. For calculus, many of the students I stay in touch with (just in general, I'm not a calculus teacher) retake first semester calc even if they pass the AP test...
     
  15. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Some schools give credit for 3s, some only give credit for 4s or 5s. I got a 3 on a majority of my tests which equates to C+/B, so why shouldn't I get the credit? Could I have done better? Yes, but it's still passing.
     
  16. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I went to a private university and had to get 4s or 5s on my tests to get credit. My best friend went to a pretty reputable state school and got a crazy amount of credits for her 3's. She got a 3 on the AP English exam and got 27 credits for it!!
     
  17. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Unless her school had some kind of strange credit system, there's no way she got 27 credits for one AP... I'm thinking she got 27 credits in total. The most credits I got for one single AP exam was 10 from AP Music Theory, and that's because I got credit for Music Theory I & II (6 cr) + Aural Skills I & II (4 cr).
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    A 3 is passing at most state schools like UMASS Amherst. I know at Bridgewater you actually get credit for just taking the class because a son of a friend got 4 credits for just taking an AP Biology class.
     
  19. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Hmm... my school is in the top 100 on the list. I do see small errors under district data and under school data. All other data provided is correct.
     
  20. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    At UMASS Amherst, only a few classes allow you to get credit for a 3. I don't really think a 3 is enough for college credit, but that's another topic.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Neither my school nor Peter's is elligible, so I think I'm a fairly unbiased reader.

    And based on what I know of some of the schools there, lets' just say I disagree STRONGLY with their criteria.

    Those of you from around LI: SOUTHSIDE high school ( #2???)in Rockville Centre beats out both Bronx Science (#10???) and Stuyvesant (#9????) ???? Are you kidding me????? In what alternate universe???

    And Commack beats out Syosset, Garden City, Ward Melville, and Half Hollow Hills East and West???? Not by any measure I've ever heard of.


    Even if their numbers are correct, I have some reservations about the criteria they choose. For example, if we looked at Siemens competition results or percentage of students receiving college scholarships, I think we would get an entirely different list .

    As with everything else, the criteria you choose can easily make or break the conclusions you arrive at.
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Sometimes I feel like test scores reflect more on the socioeconomic level of the students in the school rather than the school itself.

    I teach in a wonderful school, but we do virtually no test prep (except in the very low classes) because the students know how to do well on the tests anyways. So test scores, which are always excellent, aren't really a measure of how good my school is.
     
  23. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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  24. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I don't think this list is a good indicator of what is or isn't a good high school anyway.
     
  25. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    People don't like to say it, but this is SO true. That's why I think all of the "merit pay" based on test scores is so absurd. In my district there are two schools that are comprised of wealthy, native English speaking students. Three other schools, including mine, have a large low SES and ELL population. When the kids have to learn English first before even thinking about the content, it makes it SO much harder. The two "rich" schools always score much better than the "poor" schools. Are the teachers at the "rich" school really better? I highly doubt it. My school in particular is in an interesting area where we do also have a wealthy, native english speaking population. Those students have historically passed the test every time. I know for at least the past three years, the percentage of native english speaking students passing has literally been 100% at my school, even including a couple of my sped kids. Last year the breakdown between ELL and non-ELL was about 80-90% ELL. This year, we built a new building and made some changes which attracted more of the wealthy/native English population to come back to the school (they had previously attended charters) and our population is now more like 55-60% ELL. We just got our 3rd grade test results today and they are literally double what they were last year. In reading, the scores jumped from 35% proficient last year to 74% proficient this year. Same teachers, same leadership, same education- the only difference was more students who already knew English and had the resources at home.
     
  26. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    :lol::lol::lol:

    Agreed entirely. According to US News, Walt Whitman, Islip, and all of the schools you mentioned beat my high school. I'll be the first to admit I have a lot of pride in my alma mater, but there is just no way. Absolutely none. I refuse to believe this data is correct.
     

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