On May 12, students and staff were surprised to see that Pine View was ranked by US News and World Report to be 24th in the United States for high schools in contrast to being ranked 6th for the last two years. The state ranking also dropped from 1st to 3rd.
A new three step process was developed by RTI International, a nonprofit social science research firm, this year for determining the rankings. The first step determined whether the student body performed better than statistically expected for students in their state. This is done by examining math and reading scores on proficiency tests. Pine View was given a 98% in reading proficiency and the math proficiency was not available. Next, the performance of students deemed disadvantaged based on race and income were compared to other disadvantaged students in the state. The same test scores were used in this step. Finally, the College Readiness Index was determined by dividing the number of twelfth-grade students who had taken and passed an AP or IB test by the number of twelfth-grade students at the school. Pine View was given a 97.7 for college readiness.
US News and World Report used data from the 2012-2013 school year to determine the 2015 rankings. “The 2012 data does not reflect what’s going on now,” Dr. Principal Stephen Covert said, “it’s ridiculously skewed.”
Between the 2011-2012 school year scores that were used to determine the 2014 ranking of 6th and the 2012-2013 school year scores that were used to determine the 2015 ranking of 24th, the pass rate of AP exams decreased from 93% to 90%; however, the number of students taking AP classes increased by 7.2%. Two new AP courses were added during the 2012-2013 school year as well.
Social studies teacher John Schweig said, “As the school expands its number of AP courses offered and AP tests taken, there’s going to be some drop in passing rate, though 90% passing is still quite good.”
While the ACT scores remained about the same, the SAT scores between the 2011-2012 school year and 2012-2013 school year dropped slightly in every category. Critical reading decreased from 671 to 657, math decreased from 664 to 648, and writing decreased from 656 to 637. However, using the RTI formula, these drops could not reasonably lower the ranking 18 places by themselves .
This is not the first time Pine View’s ranking has unexpectedly dropped. In 2011, Pine View was ranked 14th, but moved down to 30th in 2012. In the June 1, 2012 issue of The Torch, the drop was attributed to a change in formula that focused more on disadvantaged students. “It is one of our goals to have a more diverse, representative population, but we do have 25%, which is a pretty good number,” Covert said.
In previous years, US News and World Report emailed questionnaires to schools asking for testing and population data, but this year, they did not. Covert plans on writing to US News and World Report to address the inaccuracies in the data.
In response to the concerns raised by students and staff, Covert said in an email to staff members, “Pine View is so much more than one set of test scores, and much more than one level; we are one school, and all grade levels contribute to successfully achieving our mission with students.”