Should Hatboro-Horsham High School be Ranked?

U.S. News and World Report ranked the top 168 high schools in Pennsylvania–and Hatboro-Horsham is not on the list.

Its students average 81 percent proficiency in math and reading and 30 percent take Advancement Placement courses and exams. Yet, Hatboro-Horsham High School was not ranked as part of U.S. News and World Report's Best High School's Rankings.

The rankings, which were released Tuesday, included data for all 687 high schools in Pennsylvania. Locally, Lower Moreland High School in Huntingdon Valley was ranked in the top 10, while Council Rock North Senior High School in Bucks County and Lower Merion High School ranked in the top 20.

Hatboro-Horsham School District Superintendent Curtis Griffin told Patch he was "confused" by the rankings and questioned how Lampeter-Strasburg High School could have nearly "identical" math and reading proficiency and rank No. 44 statewide. 

"I know that our numbers are very, very similar," Griffin said. 

The information used to determine the rankings was based on 2010-2011 school district data, according to Griffin, who said Hatboro-Horsham would look at it and, once data for subsequent years is available, would compare it to determine any differences in areas of growth. 

Griffin pointed out that even though the district did not rank, that the high school's performance was "above state average."

"I feel very good about it," Griffin said. 

The state's top-ranking school, Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia, also ranked No. 76 nationally. In comparison to Hatboro-Horsham, the school's students average 98 percent proficiency in math and 100 percent in reading and 94 percent of the student body participates in the Advanced Placement curriculum.

And while Hatboro-Horsham has a 13-1 student-to-teacher ratio as compared to the Philadelphia school's 18-1 ratio, Hatboro-Horsham's "college readiness index" measured 25.5 to Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School's 81.4 index, according to U.S. News data.

Do you think Hatboro-Horsham High School should have fared better? Tell us in the comments.

Despite not being ranked by U.S. News and World Report, each of Hatboro-Horsham's schools have received blue ribbon honors from both the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the United States Department of Education for demonstrating excellence in education.

How were rankings determined?

U.S. News collected data on more than 21,000 public high schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia. (Nebraska did not report enough data to be included in the rankings.)

U.S. News collaborated with the American Institutes for Research, a D.C.-based organization, to evaluate schools on overall student performance on a variety of factors, including state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively schools educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. Performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams determined the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work, according to a release issued by U.S. News. 

Schools were ranked within each state, as well as on a national level. In the national rankings, 500 schools earned gold medals, 1,790 were awarded silver and 2,515 took home bronze.

Charter and magnet schools, which typically accept a limited number of students either through a lottery or application process, accounted for 145 of the top 500 schools. Because these schools tend to have flexible curriculums and draw upon a narrower swath of students, U.S. News also ranked these programs separately.

The School for the Talented and Gifted in the Dallas Independent School District retained its distinction as the best public high school in the country, according to U.S. News data.

Jeff Fread April 24, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Seems that rather than worrying about the ranking the district should be more concerned about the "college readiness index" of 25.5.
HatsToYou April 24, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Our school taxes are high and our results are low. In sports the management would be fired for this bad a performance, maybe that should be the case here. From top to bottom each and every secondary program and its administration should be evaluated. Too many sports teams and less time in the classroom could be part of the problem. We are not running a country club, a school should have as its only goal educational excellence. The intensive scheduling program hurts results because a student does not have the basic subjects all year, just a semester then may not have it for another two semesters. Ninety minute classes are a waste because much of that time is used for the student to start homework early rather than new material. For what we are paying these teachers and administrators we must DEMAND better results. It is time for taxpayers to attend school board meetings and rather than settle for a quick meeting, questions and answers should be demanded and the education jargon should not be used by the "administrative team." Only a couple of taxpayers attend meetings that are shorter than TV commercials.


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