National group ranks Oakwood, Dayton high schools best locally

U.S. News and World Report released its annual “best public high schools” report Tuesday, ranking Oakwood High School and Dayton’s Stivers School for the Arts as the area’s top two high schools.

Several organizations rank K-12 schools, using a variety of formulas. U.S. News’ formula is based 90% on testing — both state exams and the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests that some students choose to take. The data is on a significant lag, as the test results for these rankings are from the 2018-19 school year.

Among 683 high schools that U.S. News ranked in Ohio, the following local schools were in their top 100 — Oakwood (ninth), Stivers (43), Springboro (58), Waynesville (63), Centerville (68), Bellbrook (93), Bethel (97) and Brookville (100).

Education analysts often point to the correlation between wealth/poverty and test results, and the same is true with the U.S. News ranking. Of the schools U.S. News ranked as its top 20 in Ohio, all but one are in districts that rank in the top 7% of the state in median income.

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

The outlier, Ohio’s No. 1-ranked public high school, is Walnut Hills, a Cincinnati Public school that only admits student who score high on an entrance exam. That’s somewhat parallel locally to Stivers, a Dayton Public School that admits students based on auditions.

The US News rankings break down this way:

** 40% is tied to how many students take and pass Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests;

** 30% on the school’s state math/reading test scores in context of the school’s poverty/minority demographics;

** 20% on the school’s raw results on state math and reading tests;

** 10% on graduation rate.

“The highest ranked (schools) are those whose students demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in math and reading state assessments, earned qualifying scores in an array of college-level exams, and graduated in high proportions,” U.S. News says in explaining its methodology.

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