Local News

Triangle High Schools Among Newsweek's Top 700

Posted May 28, 2003

— A new ranking of the country's top 700 high schools published in


magazine is raising eyebrows.

Some question the formula used to rank schools: Advanced Placement (AP) tests plus International Baccalaureate tests divided by the number of graduating seniors. Schools that choose more than half their students based on grades and other test scores were not considered.

Using that system, only 20 percent of Wake County's high schools made the list compared to 66 percent of Charlotte- Mecklenburg Schools and 86 percent of Guilford County Schools.

Despite those numbers, Wake County School superintendent Bill McNeal said parents should not worry.

Raleigh's Enloe High School is ranked 42nd in the list of the 700 top high schools.

"I'm trying to figure out who those other 41 schools are ahead of Enloe," McNeal said.

McNeal is proud of Enloe and the other Wake County schools on the list: Green Hope in Morrisville was listed at 326 and Broughton High at 460.

He is quick to point out the


formula included only those advance placement students who were tested.

"In Wake County, 55 percent took the exam, 45 percent did not take the exam -- some because it was prohibitive and others just chose not to," he said.

Of those who were tested, McNeal said, "They rank significantly higher than the state, significantly higher than the south, significantly higher than the nation. We've had hte best scores we've had in the past 10 years."

Those scores carry over to another important statistic: Last year, 78 percent of Wake County high school seniors took the SAT compared to 73 percent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg seniors. Despite more test takers, on average, Wake County outscored Charlotte-Mecklenburg seniors by 71 points.

Even with the success, McNeal wants more students -- particularly minority students -- in AP classes and taking the exams.

"Greatness comes when we insist and ensure that all students are able to reach that high level of performance," he said.

Both of Chapel Hill's high schools made the top 700. East Chapel Hill ranks at 52 and Chapel Hill High at 144. In Durham, Jordan High ranked at 170 and Riverside at 485.

No schools from Cumberland or Johnston Counties made the list.


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