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Four Poway Unified Schools Make National High School Challenge Rankings

The rankings, from The Washington Post, gauge how well high schools prepare their students for college.

Four Poway Unified campuses, including Rancho Bernardo and Poway high schools, were included in a recent Washington Post ranking of how well schools prepare their students for college.

The High School Challenge, posted annually by  The Washington Post, ranks high schools by a simple formula: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other college-level tests given at a school is divided by the number of graduating seniors to get the "Challenge Index" score.

Of the 27,000 high schools across the country, only 7 percent (or about 1,900) have an index greater than 1.00, which was the baseline to be included on the list. To meet the baseline, a school would just need for half of its students to take one college-level test in both their junior and senior years. 

This was the first year the rankings, begun in 1998, included schools outside of the Washington area.

The highest ranking schools in San Diego County were:

  • The Preuss School UCSD (La Jolla), which was ranked 24 with an index of 7.374.
  • Torrey Pines High School (La Jolla), which ranked 110 with an index of 4.145.
  • Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego), which ranked 193 with an index of 3.487.
  • La Jolla High School, which ranked 216 with an index of 3.358.
  • Westview High School (San Diego) which ranked 253 with an index of 3.230.

The rankings also include the percentage of the high school's students who qualify and apply for subsidized lunches—an indicator of the school's poverty level. Also noted is an "Equity and Excellence" measure that shows what percentage of seniors received at least one score on a college-level test high enough to give them college credit. For example, University of California and California State University schools typically require a score of at least 3 out of 5 on AP exams to provide college credit.

For more information on the High School Challenge rankings, visit the Washington Post website.

Schools from the on the list:

School Rank Equity & Excellence Subsidized Lunch Applicants Challenge Index Rancho Bernardo High 623 50% 7% 2.259 Mt. Carmel High 713 42.8% 14% 2.128 Westview High 253 60.5% 9% 3.230 Poway High 735 49.2% 15% 2.101

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