La Jolla High makes Newsweek's Top 100
by Lori Martinez
Published - 07/20/06 - 12:49 PM | 4180 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fourteen high schools in the San Diego City Schools district were honored by Newsweek magazine, making its Top 100 list of America's best public high schools.

The schools are honored for doing an excellent job in preparing students for college by offering college-level curriculum. The ranking was determined by dividing the number of Advanced Placement (AP) tests and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken at a school by the number of graduating seniors.

The complete list includes La Jolla High School, University City High School, San Diego High School of International Studies, the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), Point Loma High School and Mission Bay High School.

While this is an honor, some schools believe that there are better ways to measure the success of a high school.

"I don't know if it's an honor to be put on this list [Newsweek Top 100]," said Dana Shelburne, principal at La Jolla High School for the past 10 years. "I think it would better if they used an AP qualifying rate, which is the number of successful AP exams divided by the number of juniors and seniors that took the exam."

The main problem that Shelburne has with the list is that the magazine bases its score on the number of tests taken and not the number of passing score tests. The AP test system gives a score of one through five. Only scores of three, four or five are passing.

"The public doesn't care how they get the results "” they just want to see what the number is," Shelburne said. "Whether the system is flawed, no one cares. They just want to see if it's a bad number or a good number."

According to Shelburne, the goal of these lists is to put pressure on schools to get more students into AP courses.

"The theory is that these classes will prepare the students for college and the real world," Shelburne said. "But I don't know of a college course that would let you pass without taking the final. High school students enrolled in an AP course do not have to take the AP exam; that's not what the real world is like."
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