Each year, the Post’s Jay Mathews ranks public high schools using the challenge index, his measure of how effectively a school prepares its students for college. In order to calculate an index score for each school, researchers take the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and divide it by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June. Public schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.00, meaning they had as many tests in 2013 as they had graduates, were put on the national list. Schools are ranked in order of ratio. Long Beach High School’s challenge index rose 20 percent this year to 2.716.
Only 9 percent of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools managed to reach the standard and earn placement on the list.
“Your appearance on this list means that you are trying much harder than most schools to expose your students to the demands of college,” said Mr. Mathews in an official announcement to the school.
Long Beach High School was officially authorized as an International Baccalaureate World School in 2010. Since then, the school has greatly expanded its college-level course offerings, currently offering 26 IB courses and 19 AP and other college-level courses to students in their junior and senior years. These courses are open to all students willing to rise to the challenge. In the 2012-13 school year, there were 505 students taking at least one college-level course in their junior or senior year. In the current school year, more than 900 students have elected to take at least one college-level course, representing approximately 67% of all juniors and seniors.
“One of the top priorities of Long Beach Public Schools is to supply our students with the skills they will need to be prepared for college and careers,” said Superintendent David Weiss. “We are proud to be recognized for our efforts by The Washington Post’s high school challenge.”