Congratulations to Dutch Fork High School on being named one of the Best High Schools in the nation according to the US News and World Report (2012). Sixteen schools from South Carolina, made the list with two from School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties.
To produce the 2012 U.S.News & World Report Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News teamed up with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research (AIR), one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world.
AIR implemented U.S. News's comprehensive rankings methodology, which is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.
We analyzed 21,776 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data, primarily from the 2009-2010 school year, to analyze. (Nebraska was the only state that did not report enough data and therefore was not evaluated for any part of the rankings.)
A three-step process determined the Best High Schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using performance on state proficiency tests as the benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.
• Step 1: The first step determined whether each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state. We started by looking at reading and math results for all students on each state's high school proficiency tests. We then factored in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students (who tend to score lower) enrolled at the school to identify the schools that were performing better than statistical expectations.
• Step 2: For those schools that made it past this first step, the second step determined whether the school's least-advantaged students (black, Hispanic, and low-income) were performing better than average for similar students in the state. We compared each school's math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students with the statewide results for these student groups and then selected schools that were performing better than this state average.
• Step 3: Schools that made it through the first two steps became eligible to be judged nationally on the final step—college-readiness performance—using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data as the benchmarks for success, depending on which program was largest at the school. AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools across the country. The International Baccalaureate program also offers a college-level curriculum.This third step measured which schools produced the best college-level achievement for the highest percentages of their students. This was done by computing a "college readiness index" based on the school's AP or IB participation rate (the number of 12th-grade students in the 2009-2010 academic year who took at least one AP or IB test before or during their senior year, divided by the number of 12th graders) and how well the students did on those tests.
We are so proud of our students, teachers, and parents for working together to achieve this honor. Together, we will achieve more!