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May   3

Forget Class Rank, How About School Rank?

Not that there's any competition in Baristaville, but Newsweek's 1000 Best High Schools list is out, and this year Montclair High School comes in at #207, while Glen Ridge comes in at #580. Last year, Glen Ridge made the list at #459. The ranking system is based on the number of students taking and passing advanced placement tests. Bloomfield didn't make the list at all.

May 3, 2006 in Civic Virtue | Permalink


The way I read it, the ranking had nothing to do with how many pass the AP courses, just the number that take the AP courses. The reasoning was that some schools only allow the brightest to take the test which would skew the results.

Posted by: BeanCounter | May 3, 2006 3:52:25 PM

I *never* believe anything I read in Newsweek. The magazine is mostly written by dolts.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 3, 2006 3:58:30 PM

And this listing is totally meaningless.

Posted by: BeanCounter | May 3, 2006 4:01:05 PM

Good for the Montclair and Glen Ridge high schools!

Posted by: appletony | May 3, 2006 4:14:06 PM

I think this tries to explain the basis of the ranking system: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12532668/site/newsweek/

One keyword of the article that stood out: "innovation"

Not too many schools put a high priority on this action item (teaching innovative thinking, encouraging administrators to build innovation into school plans/models), but yet innovation is a key element in today's competitive and fast-changing business world, and hence, success in it.

Posted by: Jim | May 3, 2006 4:33:26 PM

They can blame Porno Hate Train for their decrease or else they'd have been 440.

Posted by: Matt Caruso | May 3, 2006 4:35:04 PM

Actually, it was meaningless last year, but now that Mtc hs is 207, it is suddenly fraught with meaning. Thank heavens! Where would we be without lists!

Posted by: walleroo | May 3, 2006 4:46:30 PM

I saw a list online the other day that said ABBA's Greatest Hits was in the 10 ten albums of ALL TIME.

Why would the only means of ranking be advanced placement exams? I went to high school in old bridge, and they encouraged students to take advanced placement exams (even if you did not take the AP course, you can still take the exam). There are probably schools that discourage "bad" students from taking the exams to boost the average AP score.

There are also a lot of schools that do not offer various AP courses, and students are hesitant to take AP exams sans course.

Posted by: jennnnn | May 3, 2006 8:42:18 PM

Maybe someone should take into account that AP courses are not necessarily the soundest and/or most rigorous programs available. To use these kind of stats as the basis for "ranking" schools is pure insanity -- but you have to hand it to the folks at the College Board, they have created a product that has made them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Posted by: da-mule | May 3, 2006 9:05:38 PM

Yeah, AP exams, 4 years ago when I was taking them, were $77 a pop. They also encouraged you to buy their study books, which were probably in the $20-$40 range.

Posted by: jennnnn | May 3, 2006 9:18:16 PM

Hey ROC!

You have comments about EVERYTHING! I was looking forward to seeing your reaction to the comment about Round Trip Fare – you know, the comment about how no one remembered to insure the restaurant and now it looks like the taxpayers are going to get hit with the bill?

The only reason I can think you didn’t respond is that somehow you’re “connected” with the foul up! Do YOU work for the town? Was it your job to see to it that the restaurant had proper insurance?

I mean like this is the ONLY Baristanet post you’ve EVER missed!

Posted by: cheeze | May 3, 2006 11:33:37 PM

Bloomfield shouldn't make the list becuase about 70% of the students live in Newark and EO.

Posted by: BeechSt. | May 3, 2006 11:44:53 PM

Below is why Newsweek used AP, according to the article's FAQ section. What's interesting is that Montclair was only behind a handful of Jersey schools and well ahead of Summit and Ridgewood. However Newsweek said it didn't include Bergen Academies in Hackensack because of the high level of AP participation there. That is where the plagiarist author Viswanathan attended. AP isn't everything.

Only 30 percent of high-school students take any Advanced Placement courses at all; by the time Frausto graduates later this month, she will have taken 16 of them—in many cases earning the highest grade, a 5, on the three-hour final exam.

That is because Frausto's school, the Talented and Gifted Magnet School near downtown Dallas, is one of a growing number of high schools trying to make AP as much a part of students' lives as french fries and iPods. Located in a run-down neighborhood not usually associated with high-level learning, Talented and Gifted—"TAG" to its students—tops NEWSWEEK's list of America's Best High Schools. Members of its racially mixed student body say they feel united by the challenge. "What I really love about TAG is the atmosphere," said Frausto, who will be attending MIT on a scholarship in the fall. "There is so much closeness."

Large studies in Texas and California done over the past two years indicate that good grades on AP tests significantly increase chances of earning college degrees. That has led many public schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods to look for ways to get their students into AP and a similar but smaller college-level course program called International Baccalaureate (IB), in hopes that their students will have the same college-graduation rates enjoyed by AP and IB students from the country's wealthiest private schools and most selective public schools.

Posted by: buycopy | May 4, 2006 10:32:32 AM

BeechSt., is there a way to verify your claim? (Maybe not 70% but some lower number.) Obviously there must be; so why does the Bloomfield Board of Ed. allow this abuse? Better yet, why do I, and other Bloomfield residents, allow our tax dollars to be spent on out-of-town students? I'll bet asking parents for proof of residency will infringe on someone's rights. Absolutely ridiculous.

This isn't the first time I've heard someone claim that a lot of out-of-towners attend Bloomfield High. Why aren't they making the leap to Montclair as well? Especially if Montclair "made the list"?

Posted by: glee | May 4, 2006 10:45:27 AM

"To use these kind of stats as the basis for "ranking" schools is pure insanity"

To take these lists seriously is the second sign of insanity. (The first being hair between the knuckles.)

Posted by: walleroo | May 4, 2006 10:46:47 AM

"Only" 30% of all US high school kids take an AP class?! That can't be.

"You know, when I was in school..."

Seriously, though, back in the early 80's when I was in high school, only the very smartest kids in my school took AP classes. Maybe 10% of my class, max, and certainly not 1 out of 3. And this was at a public school that was generally regarded as one of the best in the state.

Have AP classes been dumbed down in the 20-odd years it's been since I was in high school? Is it neurotic parents pushing their kids & their kids' teachers towards AP? Or have AP classes gone through something like grade inflation or SAT score inflation?

Posted by: John | May 4, 2006 10:49:45 AM

John: AP classes have not been "dumbed down" but rather are increasing as a new standard of excellence. 20 years ago, high school graduation was considered the benchmark for getting a good job. Today, a college degree is the new minimum requirement to getting a good job and career. The education standard continues to escalate for every generation.

Posted by: Jim | May 4, 2006 11:31:47 AM


Could it be the old, Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics?

Isn't taking Newsweek seriously the same as taking USA Today, Eyewitness News, Morning Show's or any such outlets seriously. I had to give up Time years ago because it was more like reading People. This is entertainment only. They should be made to have a disclaimer like the car ads (closed course-do not attempt). It would be like believing NJ Monthly. Soap Opera's may have more veracity.

Posted by: Johnny | May 4, 2006 11:32:39 AM

We're Number 207 !!!

Stick it , Ern.

Posted by: mountie | May 4, 2006 12:16:27 PM

Those Robotics kids at MHS never fail to impress me

Posted by: Bitpusher | May 4, 2006 4:14:49 PM

Considering AP programs the "new standard of excellence" is not only absurd, but is a view that can only be based in the hype of propaganda and complete ignorance of quality education.

Posted by: da-mule | May 4, 2006 7:33:20 PM

da-mule: that's quite a blank statement. How do you define "quality education"? And while you're at it, how, as a parent, would you guide your child through the college application process and ensuring their success in life?

Posted by: Jim | May 4, 2006 8:09:33 PM

Danny Noonan: "I've always wanted to go to college."
Judge Smails: "Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too."

Posted by: Caddyshack | May 4, 2006 8:12:13 PM

Well....my Bloomfield High School junior is taking the AP History test tomorrow - they do encourage students to take the tests - I know that he has signed up to take several of them. The cost is approximately $80ish per test.

Posted by: Anne Prince | May 4, 2006 8:42:48 PM

Lists of top schools should not be based on exams that cost $80. It's not fair for students (example: myself) who were not able to take 10 AP exams in order to contribute to this list that NEWSWEEK made. NEWSWEEK. These are the people that base how "geeky" you by whether you text message people or not. I doubt that Dudley 'Booger' Dawson ever text messaged anyone...

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