An official with the Rhode Island Department of Education said the state failed to hit a key deadline for one of the nation’s top high school rankings lists. In an email to the …
An official with the Rhode Island Department of Education said the state failed to hit a key deadline for one of the nation’s top high school rankings lists.
In an email to the Barrington Times, RIDE Communications Director Victor Morente wrote that the state was in the process of conducting a review of statewide AP data when “the deadline for US News and World Report lapsed for this year’s rankings.”
That failure resulted in a precipitous drop in the rankings for a number of Rhode Island high schools, including Barrington High School.
From 2016 to 2022, Barrington High School boasted an average national ranking of 320, out of a pool of more than 17,000 high schools across the country.
Last year, BHS ranked 308 nationally, and in 2018, the local high school’s rank broke the top-200, finishing at 189.
But this year, the ranking dropped to 5,140. The reason, officials said, is because the state did not give permission to U.S. News and World Report to use Rhode Island students’ AP (Advanced Placement) data.
“Five states — Oregon, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Maine and Oklahoma — were the only states that did not give U.S. News permission to use their schools’ AP data in the rankings,” stated the U.S. News and World Report website. “As a result, the AP test data was not used in the rankings for the schools in these five states.”
That AP data would have been used to calculate scores in two key categories: the College Readiness Index, and College Curriculum Breadth. Combined, those two indexes account for 40 percent of the US News and World Report rankings.
In a recent interview, Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore said Barrington High School has established a strong reputation for scoring very well on those two indexes, as BHS allows any and all students to enroll in AP classes and take AP exams.
“We have a significant number of students (take AP tests) every year,” Messore said.
Shortly after the U.S. News and World Reports list of Best High Schools in America was released, Barrington School officials knew something was amiss.
Recently, Barrington High School Principal Christopher Ashley sent out a letter regarding the national rankings situation.
“I would like to provide you with context about this ranking as well as assurance that Barrington High School remains an exemplary and academically rigorous learning community,” Ashley wrote.
“Since 2018, BHS has ranked between 189 and 316 nationally on the Best High Schools list produced by U.S. News. Our high school’s performance and achievement have remained consistent with previous years.”
Ashley explained the state’s error and how it impacted Barrington High School’s national ranking.
“This year, U.S. News requested but did not receive authorization from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) to use College Board data. “… this oversight severely affected the national rankings of all public high schools in Rhode Island.”
Ashley assured families that the U.S. News and World Report rankings would not impact graduating students’ college admissions chances.
“The BHS Counseling office reports that the U.S. News results have no impact on college acceptance and rankings are not reported to colleges where students are applying,” Ashley wrote. “Our dedicated faculty and staff continue to provide exceptional instruction and a vast array of learning opportunities that foster our students’ growth and development, and our students remain competitive in college admissions decisions.
“Since the release of the Best High School rankings, we have been in contact with both U.S. News and RIDE. While the District awaits a response regarding this situation, we remain steadfast in our commitment to nurturing a supportive and enriching educational environment where all of our students are empowered to excel.”
In his words
Following is the statement shared by RIDE Communications Director Victor Morente regarding the national rankings situation:
“To ensure accuracy, RIDE was in the process of conducting a thorough review of statewide AP data as the deadline for US News and World Report lapsed for this year’s rankings. The agency has been in contact with the College Board, which submits the data to US News and World Report, and we have completed the data release form for the upcoming year to ensure that the data is reflected in next year’s US News and World Report reporting.”