slides: Top STEM High Schools in Massachusetts
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
So which Massachusetts high schools get the nod for having the best STEM programs? It's not easy to assess, but US News & World Report, the education ranking juggernaut, took a run at the challenge this year in its latest high school rankings, naming the 256 top STEM-oriented high school programs in the country. How did Massachusetts public, charter and magnet schools fare?
Massachusetts: Top 10 finisher nationally
Of the 256 schools lauded nationwide, Massachusetts can claim 16 honored schools and one Top 10 finisher: Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. The school of 1,990 students is not a magnet nor a special tech/magnet school, unlike other top performers, but an open-enrollment public high school that has been lauded many times for its variety of academics and named one of 39 American high schools named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009. No other Massachusetts school ranked among the Top 20 nationally, although a cluster of 3 more MA schools placed in the Top 25: Winchester High School, Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, and Lexington High School.
Central Massachusetts: Two top STEM schools
Central Massachusetts can boast of placing two schools high up in the statewide ranking, and one very high nationally. The Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough was not only #3 in the statewide ranking, but placed #22 nationally according to US News. AMSA enjoys proximity to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which hosts a variety of STEM-oriented events and programs for local students, including the upcoming Girls STEM Summit for grades 8-12 on November 16, 2013. Following AMSA in Central Massachusetts, the highly ranked Bromfield School in Harvard ranked #8 in Massachusetts and #52 nationally.
Ranking Top STEM High Schools
To assess a high school's STEM value, U.S. News & World Report operated on what it calls the "key principle that students at the Best High Schools for STEM must participate in and pass a robust curriculum of college-level math and science STEM courses." To accomplish this, the 500 top ranking schools in US News' 2013 rankings were judged using their Advanced Placement STEM test data for 2011 graduates as the benchmark. (AP offers college-level courses at high schools across the country, and defines STEM Math as APs in Calculus AB; Calculus BC; Computer Science A; Computer Science AB; and Statistics, and STEM Science as APs in Biology; Chemistry; Environmental Science; Physics B; Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism; and Physics C: Mechanics).
From there, a STEM Achievement Index for each school was created, based on the percentage of their 2011 graduates who were AP test-takers who had also taken and passed college-level AP STEM Math and AP STEM Science tests. The higher a high school scored on the STEM Achievement Index, the better it placed in the Best High Schools for STEM rankings.
To see how the top STEM high schools ranked and what their Achievement Index scores were, see the slides below.
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