15 GCS Schools Ranked Nationally for Academic Rigor

Fifteen Guilford County high schools earned major national recognition when they made the Washington Posts’ list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.” The rankings put the schools in the top 11 percent in the entire country, three were ranked in the top 10 for the state of North Carolina, and one school made the newspaper’s “Public Elite List.”

The schools making the list (listed in state ranking order) are: Page High (5), Grimsley High (7), Weaver Academy (8), Northwest High (12), Northern High (14), Penn-Griffin School for the Arts (15), High Point Central High (19), Southwest High (23), Ragsdale High (26), Western High (32), Smith High (36), Academy at Smith (39), Southeast High (42), Southern High (45) and Dudley High (47).

Rankings are determined by the number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) tests given at the school each year compared to the number of seniors who graduated in May or June. The list identifies schools that have done the best job persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests.

“AP, IB and AICE are important because they give average students a chance to experience the trauma of heavy college reading lists and long, analytical college examinations,” reporter Jay Mathews explains in the article. “Research has found that even low-performing students who got a 2 (not passing) on an AP test did significantly better in college than similar students who did not take AP.”

Magnet and charter schools that draw high concentrations of top students are not included on the list, because it is meant to identify schools that challenge average students. Schools with average SAT or ACT scores that exceed the highest average for any normal-enrollment school were put on the “Public Elite List.” This year, 25 schools were put on that list including two from North Carolina: GCS’ Early College at Guilford and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham.

To view the complete list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools, click here.