Rising AP failure rate reduces reliability of Newsweek's "top" high school ratings

Newsweek ranks the "top" high schools in the U.S. each year according a single criterion, the AP participation rate*:
Public schools are ranked according to a ratio devised by [WaPo edu-blogger] Jay Mathews: the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school . . . divided by the number of graduating seniors.
Newsweek's ranking don't consider the percentage of students who pass or fail the AP tests.

Because the failure rate is increasing (41.5% failed last year, up from 36.5% in 1999) Newsweek's rankings have become that much less reliable.

The single-criterion rating system has worked reasonably well so far. But at some point Newsweek will have to change it's formula to include pass/fail rates.

*It's actually called the Challenge Index, and it includes partipation in the AP and similar college-level tests.

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