All 25 high schools in Montgomery County Public Schools are among the most challenging and rigorous in the nation, according to a Washington Post ranking released Monday. The list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools based on the access that students have to rigorous classes, such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.
In Germantown, Northwest High School was listed as number 18 in the State of Maryland out of 124, and number 44 out of 184 in the Washington D.C. region and 423 out of 2,326 national schools participating.
Seneca Valley was ranked 46 in Maryland, 83 in the Washington D.C. region, and 920 in the nation. Other local high schools on the list include Clarksburg at 51 in Maryland, 90 in the D.C. region and 987 in the national rankings, and Watkins Mill which ranked 68 in Maryland, 112 in the D.C. region, and 1,377 in the national rankings.
MCPS placed six high schools in the top 200 of the Washington Post’s list—Poolesville, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Richard Montgomery, Winston Churchill, Thomas S. Wootton, and Walter Johnson. Only two other Maryland schools made the top 200. MCPS accounted for more than one-third of the 17 Washington, D.C.-area schools in the top 200.
“MCPS is committed to providing all students with access to AP and IB classes and this ranking recognizes the success of our efforts,” said Larry A. Bowers, interim superintendent of schools. “I want to congratulate our students and staff on the high level of participation and success in AP and IB. We will continue to make sure our students are prepared to take and succeed in rigorous classes.”
The Post evaluated more than 22,000 schools for the America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranking. Just 2,326 schools made the list, meaning all MCPS high school are among the top 11 percent of the nation’s most challenging schools. Among other MCPS highlights:
• Twenty out of the 25 MCPS high schools are in the top half of the national list;
• In the ranking of Washington, D.C.-area schools, MCPS placed three high schools in the top 10, and 19 in the top half of the list of 184 schools; and
• MCPS had seven of the top 10 high schools in Maryland, including the top three, and 20 schools in the top half of the 124 Maryland schools that made the list.
To develop the list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools, The Washington Post takes the number of AP, IB and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and divides it by the number of seniors who graduated in that year. Generally, schools that have a score of 1.00 or higher are included in the rankings.
MCPS is among the highest-performing districts in the nation when it comes to AP participation and performance. In 2014, MCPS students took 33,662 AP exams and earned a college-ready score on 74 percent of those exams—significantly higher than the performance of their peers across the state (60.9 percent) and the nation (57.2 percent).