Education

AC Flora top-ranked Midlands school in ‘most challenging’ ranking

(FILE PHOTO: 2012) AC Flora High School science teacher Patricia Swinton is shown teaching her anatomy and physiology class.
(FILE PHOTO: 2012) AC Flora High School science teacher Patricia Swinton is shown teaching her anatomy and physiology class. rittnermcmanus@thestate.com

Five Midlands area schools are ranked in the 2015 America’s Most Challenging High Schools list published by the Washington Post.

A.C. Flora, nationally, ranked 410, followed by Dutch Fork at 526, Chapin High School at 882, Dreher at 1451 and Spring Valley at 1852.

Commenting on his school’s ranking, A.C. Flora principal Richard McClure praised his faculty, students and their supportive parents. The placement is a tribute to their hard work, he said in a news release.

Twenty high schools in South Carolina made the list. North Charleston’s Academic Magnet school earned the #1 spot in the state.

A school’s ranking is determined by the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school divided by the number of seniors who graduated the same year. Schools that achieve a 1.0 ratio qualify for the list.

How well students perform on the AP, IB and AICE tests is not considered in the ranking, because many high schools “kept those rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses,” Washington Post Education Editor Jay Matthews said.

The rankings also do not include some of the nation’s most well-known top performing high schools such as Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax County, Va., or New York City’s Stuyvesant. These schools, and other magnet and charter schools like them, have such high concentrations of top students that their average test scores are in a league of their own.

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