With college application deadlines quickly approaching for seniors, it becomes increasingly important to look at the college readiness level for students. College readiness is a calculated number posted by U.S. News to rank high schools on how students will fair in college, and to what degree high schools prepare students academically for the challenges after graduation.
U.S. News posted an article on April 24 by Chief Data Strategist Robert Morse, describing their process for calculating the high school rankings, pointing at college readiness to be a major factor. The article outlines a four-step process for obtaining their number out of 100 for college readiness. The first step of this process is calculating how students compare in math and reading to the expected value of other students in the state. Factoring out “economically disadvantaged students,” to remove lower trending scores, if a school was above one-third of one standard deviation, they were considered for the next step for national rankings.
Step two then factored in disadvantaged students and compared them to the state average. Step 3 required an above 75 percent graduation rate for national consideration. The final step is specific to college readiness, using data from AP tests of exclusively seniors. Both the number of AP tests taken and the scores for each test are taken into account as a final number out of 100 is compiled.
For the 2017 graduating class, the school scored 82.0 with 89 percent of seniors taking an AP test and 90 percent of the group passing. This college readiness index is a major factor in the school’s 106 national ranking and second in Maryland, falling behind only Winston Churchill. “I am glad that we are ranked so highly in the nation and in Maryland, but it is a bit frustrating that we are second to Churchill,” senior Alex Hodes said.
The system for the college readiness index has raised concerns given that it almost entirely based off AP test scores and participation. No credit is given for other general preparation methods with other classes because this data is not as readily available for U.S. News with the 28,496 schools that must be considered for rankings. AP Test scores are, so they become the dominating factor. “It doesn’t seem fair that AP scores are relied on so much to determine college readiness because people may be taking other classes that prepare them for college that aren’t AP,” junior Ethan Kach said.
College readiness is an important statistic for any graduating class, as it determines how much high school has prepared them for their next segment of their life. A number is not always the best indication of this fact, but it is a good indication. With the school’s rank being well within the top one percent of the nation, students feel comforted knowing that they are ready for college. “It is nice to know that the work I did at Wootton will likely help me in college,” senior Michelle Podrabinnik said.
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