The accolades for Carroll students continue to come in as school officials learned recently that Carroll Senior High School is ranked among Newsweek’s Top High Schools in the Nation. This comes just a few days after Carroll students posted a composite 26.6 on the ACT.
CSHS was ranked No. 80 and led public high schools in Texas with the exception of Lovejoy High at No. 62, according to Newsweek’s The Daily Beast. Four selective Texas magnet and/or charter schools were ranked high on the list, as well. Other area rankings included Highland Park at 84, Flower Mound High at 100 and Coppell High at 200.
According to The Daily Beast’s website http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/27/america-s-top-high-schools.2.html), six indicators were culled from school surveys to compare public high schools in the U.S., with graduation and college acceptance rates weighing most heavily. Other criteria included college-level courses and exams, the percentage of students on free or reduced lunch, SAT and ACT test scores. The data used in the ranking methodology was from 2012-2013.
“We are thrilled to see our students continue to excel on state and national tests,” said CISD Superintendent David J. Faltys. “College readiness is an important indicator to us as our teachers and counselors work diligently to ensure that our students are graduating with the skills necessary to be successful after high school.”
Carroll Senior High posted a 99 percent graduation rate, had 98.5 percent college-bound seniors and 2.1 percent on the free and reduced lunch program. The SAT score of 1723 and the ACT score of 26 were also factored in to Newsweek’s methodology. CSHS, home to CISD’s 11th and 12th graders, only, also has 36.6 percent of its students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and an average of .5 exams taken per student. The Dragons’ passing rate is 84.8 percent.
CISD recently learned that its students increased their composite score on the ACT from 26 to 26.6 in 2014. The district also tested more students this past year; 502 students took the test, compared to 463 in 2013. CISD’s composite of 26.6 compares to a state composite of 20.9. Dragon students increased their scores in all four ACT areas: English, reading, math and science. The district has not yet received SAT scores for this year.
Carroll Senior High did not make US News & World Report’s 2014 Best High Schools list last spring, and that generated a number of questions by parents and staff. School officials inquired about the methodology used in the US News ranking this past spring and found that districts with split configurations did not qualify for consideration. Carroll Senior High serves 11th and 12th grade students, while Carroll High serves 9th and 10th graders.
“We continue to be proud of our students’ performance on all measures taken,” said Dr. JJ Villarreal, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. “We appreciate recognition from outside sources, but we have to carefully analyze the methodology they use for their rankings. It varies from source to source. Sometimes not making a list or earning a lower ranking may very well have a sensible explanation that has little to do with actual student performance.”
Villarreal said CHS did not qualify for the US News ranking because they require an AP performance evaluation of grade 12 students for qualification. While our state accountability system metrics meet the state’s needs to determine quality and ratings, the state’s data does not meet US News’ Best High School criteria as CISD reports two separate high schools (CHS and CSHS).
“In an effort to bring to our students, staff, and community the recognition for high standards for our Dragons, we reached out to US News for clarification,” said Dr. Villarreal. “Unfortunately, we were told, ‘Talk to your state and how they reported data to us.’”
Upon further review, approximately 9 percent of the high schools (1,798 high schools) in the initial group of schools considered for the rankings did not have enough data to calculate a performance index and were thus removed from the analysis. Some of the reasons for this exclusion were missing state assessment data, and missing state assessment data for the “all students” category.
In short, CISD’s analysis of the US News methodology for determining the Nation’s Best High Schools required a 12th grade class to determine their participation rate in AP tests over four years and their overall performance on AP tests with a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP test during these same four years. CHS simply cannot be evaluated under this criteria as it is only a 9/10 campus.
As for CSHS, US News used only STAAR Data from spring 2012 testing. In 2012, CSHS only completed grade 11 TAKS testing as the state has been implementing the new STAAR assessment, which was not developed or required for grade 11 students. Therefore, CSHS had no STAAR data for US News’ evaluation. This meant that CSHS had no data for evaluating criteria required in steps 1 and 2 of the US News’ process.