Patriot, OP, Score High Nationally in WaPo’s Challenge Index

| April 24, 2015 | 0 Comments | Education
Patriot High School courtesy of Prince William County Schools.

Patriot High School courtesy of Prince William County Schools.

Written by the Communications Department at Prince William County Schools

Prince William County’s Patriot High School leads the School Division in The Washington Post’s annual ranking of high schools that encourage students to take rigorous college-level courses.

Patriot High School in Nokesville ranks 13th in Virginia, 31st in the Washington, D.C. area, and 318 nationally out of 22,000 high schools. Osbourn Park follows, ranking 35th in VA, 59th in the DC area, and 578 in the nation. Both schools are among the top 3 percent in the country.

All 11 Prince William County high schools ranked among the nation’s top 10 percent n the Washington Post list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” released April 20. Full survey results are at

According to this same survey, 45.5 percent of Osbourn Park High School students pass at least one college-level test before graduating high school. Battlefield is next with 42.2 percent followed by Woodbridge (41.6), Patriot (36.9), Hylton (36), and Brentsville (31). Divisionwide, 33% of graduating seniors earn a score of 3 or more on at least one AP exam, points above the state (30%) and nation (21.6%).

School ranking is determined by adding up all the Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge (Advanced International Certificate of Education) tests taken in a given year and dividing by the number of graduating seniors. Education columnist and reporter Jay Mathews calls this formula the Challenge Index. Mathews designed the Challenge Index in 1998.

“I think 1.00 is a modest standard,” said Mathews. “A school can reach that level if only half of its students take one AP, IB or AICE test in their junior year and one in their senior year. But this year, just 11 percent of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools managed to reach that standard and earn placement on our list.”

All PWCS high schools made the list. Using this methodology, Patriot High School is ranked the highest of the Prince William schools with a challenge index of 3.916, followed by Osbourn Park at 3.092. Five other schools increased their rankings. The schools below all received higher index scores this year:
Woodbridge (2.734),
Hylton (2.716),
Battlefield (2.470), and
Brentsville District (2.463).
Completing the list of PWCS schools are Forest Park (2.461), Potomac High School (1.906), Stonewall Jackson (1.721), Gar-Field (1.643), and Freedom (1.221).

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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