The Challenge Index is the oldest high school ranking system in the country, beginning in 1998 in both Newsweek and The Washington Post.
It is the only list that does not rely on test scores, which are more a measure of student family income than school quality. It is also the only list that compares private and public schools. It ranks high schools by a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year.
Schools ranked no. 220 or above are in the top 1 percent of America’s 22,000 high schools.
Participation in college-level AP, IB and Cambridge tests is a unique measure of the depth of learning. Teachers cannot dumb down the exams because they are written and graded by independent experts. Success on the exams has been linked with success in college. The list is designed to recognize schools that challenge average students, so magnet or charter schools that have few or no average students are placed on a separate Public Elites list on this website.
Congratulations to our community of hard workers!
- Challenge Index