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US News Education Rankings - If The Rankers Were Students, They'd Get an F

Because it's impossible to post a formatted comment, I'd like to make a quick blog post to respond to the US News Education rankings posted at:

http://tewksbury.patch.com/groups/schools/p/tmhs-fails-to-make-us-news--world-reports-rankings

Basically, the study is junk.

This is US News’ methodology:

Step 1 – performance of all students against other students in the state, with performance of “economically disadvantaged” students weighted in.

Step 2 – performance of “least advantaged” students against other “least advantaged” students in the state.  US News defines “least advantaged” as “black, Hispanic, or low-income”.  Yes, if you are black, Hispanic, or have a low income, US News automatically considers you to be disadvantaged and “typically underperforming”.  Nice institutional racism and classism, that.

Step 3 – percentage of seniors in the school who took AP tests and what percentage of that group passed the tests.  This is the sole determinant of US News’ College Readiness Index.  What an utterly ridiculous premise.

 

A school had to “pass” US News’ standards for Step 1 and Step 2 to receive one of their gold or silver medals and be eligible for inclusion in the Best High Schools rankings.

So, what do we have here?

·         Painting schools’ quality and success with the broad brushes of income and race bias.

·         Ranking schools solely on class distinctions and basing students’ performance solely on standardized test scores.

·         Comparing students only within each state rather than across the country, without any consideration for the vast differences in performance assessment methods between states or performance differences between states.

·         No consideration of students with IEPs.

·         No consideration of year-over-year student improvement. 

·         No consideration of competence in history, science, or the arts. 

·         Massachusetts students consistency perform at the top of nation in apples-to-apples comparisons of student performance, yet US News has only one Massachusetts school in their top 100, 10 in the top 250, 22 in the top 500, and 47 in the top 1000.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics, all without merit and yet transformed by local media into “TMHS fails….”

Changing the headline isn’t enough.  You should delete the whole article, or do a report on how flawed the study is.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Sullivan April 27, 2014 at 09:02 AM
Great job Keith, much more detail than I provided in my post. I also have the local performance numbers that had to be pulled out of the 18 page list of numbers but didn't want to post them in a reply to the original cut and past article. Quite honestly, I didn't and don't have the time to post as a blog response either, thank you for providing this information in regards to the hidden fact/agenda not published or expressed by US News.
Matt Schooley April 27, 2014 at 01:12 PM
Thank you for putting this together, Keith. I added a photo to your blog post so I can bump it up on the site and add it to tomorrow's newsletter. Great take on the subject, I appreciate it!

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