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2016 Best High Schools for STEM Rankings Methodology

Date: 2017-03-28
Browsing times: 25

U.S. News looked at 500 public high schools to identify the best in math and science education.


2016 Best High Schools for STEM Rankings Methodology

By Robert Morse, Chief Data Strategist | April 18, 2016, at 9:44 p.m.


U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools for STEM rankings methodology is based on the key principle that students at these schools must participate in and pass a robust curriculum of college-level math and science courses. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

To be included in the Best High Schools for STEM rankings, a public high school first had to be listed as a gold medal winner in the 2016 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. That meant that the top 500 nationally ranked high schools were eligible for the STEM rankings.

Those eligible schools were next judged nationally on their level of math and science participation and success, using Advanced Placement STEM test data for 2014 graduates as the benchmark to conduct the analysis. The U.S. News Best High Schools for STEM rankings methodology does not rely on any data from the U.S. Department of Education.

AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools across the country. College Board defines STEM Math as AP courses in Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer Science A and Statistics; and STEM Science as AP courses in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics B, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and Physics C: Mechanics.

Math and science success at the high school level was assessed by computing a STEM Achievement Index for each school that ranked in the top 500 of the 2016 Best High Schools. The index was based on the percentage of all the AP test-takers in a school's 2014 graduating class who took and passed college-level AP STEM Math and AP STEM Science tests. The higher a high school scored on the STEM Achievement Index, the better it placed in the Best High Schools for STEM rankings.

The maximum STEM Achievement Index value is 100. No public high school evaluated achieved that top score. The highest index was 98.0.

The first step in the rankings process was to compute the STEM Math Achievement Index. It was derived from two variables. The first was the percentage of AP test-takers in the 2014 graduating class who took at least one AP STEM Math course during high school, which was weighted 25 percent. The second was the percentage of those AP STEM Math test-takers who passed at least one AP STEM Math test during high school, receiving an exam score of 3 or higher. This variable was weighted 75 percent.

The next step was to calculate a STEM Science Achievement Index. Much like the math index, it was derived from the percentage of AP test-takers in the 2014 graduating class who took at least one AP STEM Science course during high school – weighted 25 percent – and the percentage of those AP STEM Science test-takers who passed at least one AP STEM Science test during high school, receiving an exam score of 3 or higher – weighted 75 percent.

This means that the methodology weights students taking AP math and science STEM courses at the high school level at 25 percent and passing those same AP STEM courses at 75 percent. In other words, passing both AP math and science tests was three times as important in the rankings as simply taking AP math and science courses.

The final step in the rankings process was to calculate the overall STEM Achievement Index, a combination of the STEM Math Achievement Index and the STEM Science Achievement Index. Each index was weighted at 50 percent, and then added together to create a composite value that is the STEM Achievement Index score.

The STEM rankings were based on sorting the unrounded – to many decimal places – STEM Achievement Index in descending order, with the top-ranked schools having the highest index values. The STEM Achievement Index was then rounded to the nearest 10th for online publication.

The top 250 high schools that achieved a value of greater than or equal to 67.3 in their STEM Achievement Index scored high enough to be numerically ranked. That high index cutoff point was used since it meant that all the high schools in the STEM rankings had, on average, more than two-thirds of the AP test-takers in their 2014 graduating class take and pass at least one AP STEM Math and one AP STEM Science test.

(Robert Morse is chief data strategist at U.S. News, where he develops the methodologies and surveys for annual education rankings, including Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools).

If you want to have more information, please contact Dahan: 0086- 13530031936 or 0086-13823166234

This article is from USNEWS,( https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/articles/stem-rankings-methodology)



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