U.S. News Snubs Watchung Hills in Latest Rankings

Four Somerset County schools make top rankings, but not WHRHS.

Somebody at US News and World Report goofed...there's no other explanation for the magazine's snubbing of Watchung Hills Regional in the magazine's latest ranking of top high school out this week.

Somehow, WHRHS is unranked in the list, with Montgomery, Hillsborough, Bridgewater and Ridge earning top honors. How so?

The ranking tallies four categories for comparison—student-to-teacher ratio, proficiency on the High School Proficiency Assessment in math and language and "college preparedness," and its assessment of Watchung Hills' preparation of students falls short. Very short.

The scores for the preparedness are based on student participation and success on AP exams—the rankings top schools report 100 pecrent of the students eligible to take AP tests do so. According to the ranking, only 40 percent of WHRHS students take AP exams, and 36 percent pass, giving the school at score of 36.6. Next door Ridge claims 65 percent of its students take the AP exams, and 61 percent pass, earning a 69.1 score and a no. 8 spot on the list for New Jersey.

But Bridgewater earned a no. 34 spot, with a 39.6 score on college preparedness, exactly the same scores for HSPA tests, and a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, compared to Watchung Hill's 14:1. Go figure...

According to the magazine, the college preparedness calculation is compiled "by analyzing student success in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, both of which include college-level courses," but numbers of students taking the test at WHRHS is far higher than reported: the 2010 NJ Schools Report Card data shows 88.2 percent of eligible Watchung Hills students taking the AP tests.

The list ranked schools up to no. 51—Freehold High School, with scores of 17.1 student-teacher ratio, 16.9 college readiness score, and HSPA scores of 3.3 and 3.3.

Here are the scores for nearby schools:

School Student:teacher ratio College prep score Math score English score Watchung Hills Regional  14:1 36.6 3.3 3.4 Ridge (no. 8) 16:1 61.9 3.5 3.4 BWRHS (no. 34) 12:1 39.6 3.4 3.3 Hillsborough (no. 45) 15:1 25.3 3.3 3.4 Gov. Livingston HS 13:1 40.3 3.2 3.3

To see the entire list, visit the magazine's website on the rankings.

School officials have not responded to a request for comment—Warren Patch will update this article when a response is made.

Clearly, ....





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