Does your teenager complain about classes and homework at Evanston Township High School?
He or she might be justified in griping.
According to annual rankings created by the Washington Post, Evanston Township High School is among the most challenging public high schools in the country. In Illinois, it ranks No. 14, after high schools in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Hinsdale, Glen Ellyn and Libertyville, among other communities. Four of the top schools are magnet schools in the city of Chicago.
ETHS moved up one spot from last year, when it ranked No. 15 in Illinois, according to a release from the high school.
“We are committed to creating pathways for many more ETHS students to take our most challenging honors and Advanced Placement classes,” ETHS Supt. Eric Witherspoon said in the release. “This national recognition affirms the importance of continuing to make these important strides to benefit all students.”
Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews has rated public high schools around the country for the past 15 years based on something called the “Challenge Index,” according to the release. The index takes the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at the school that year and divides it by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June.
“With a few exceptions, public schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.000, meaning they had as many tests in 2012 as they had graduates, were put on the national list at washingtonpost.com/highschoolchallenge,” Mathews explains in a Washington Post story. Before posting the list, he also filters out magnet or charter high schools that have few average-performing students.
This year, only 9 percent of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools were included on the list, according to Mathews.
Evanston Township High School officials hope to increase access to AP classes to even more students, according to the release from the district, and in 2012, 766 students took 1,800 AP tests, the highest number in the school’s history.
“More than half of ETHS students in grades 11 and 12 participated in AP exams and the percentage of scores of 3 or higher (considered proficient) increased from 65 percent in 2011 to 70 percent in 2012,” the release said.