In a recent article for Newsweek, Jay Mathews, education reporter and columnist for The Washington Post takes on the task of naming what he believes are the 100 best high schools in America. Matthews ranks the schools according to his “Challenge Index,” a tool that ranks public schools according to the ratio of Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken by all students divided by the number of graduating seniors. In an accompanying article, Mathews explains that AP and IB tests “are most likely to stretch young minds-which should be the fundamental purpose of education.”
Mathews argues that AP and IB tests are especially important in exposing inner-city students to a level of instruction once reserved for honor students. For example, according to Mathews, AP participation by underrepresented minority students has increased 77 percent and participation by low-income students has increased by 101 percent.
The Newsweek story is available at: http://www.msnbc.com/news/917011.asp?0cv=KA01
The Washington Post article is available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44155-2003May27.html