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Dublin High Ranked High In Magazine's List, But Data Isn't Correct

Dublin High was ranked 12th nationally, but U.S. News & World Report had the school's student population wrong by more than 1,000

The good news:was ranked 12th in the nation and 4th in California in U.S. News & World Report's annual list of best high schools in the country.

The bad news: It appears at least one piece of crucial data isn't even close to being correct.

The publication released its 2012 list of the nation's best public high schools today, which includes information on nearly 22,000 schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia, according to the publication's website.

In addition to ranking the schools, U.S. News & World Report awarded 4,850 bronze, silver, and gold stars to top performing schools. Of those, 500 were gold stars, with 97 golden honors going to California schools, according to the magazine's website.

Dublin High snagged one of those gold medals.

However, the magazine listed the student population at 493, when it's actually more than 1,500. The number of full-time teachers was listed at 66.

That gave Dublin High the eyebrow-raising student-to-teacher ratio of 7:1. The real ratio, based on 66 teachers, would be closer to 23:1.

Administrators at Dublin High could not be reached for comment.

U.S. News & World Report editors also were unavailable.

If the magazine does update and correct the data, it appears Dublin High would still be in the gold medal category.

The magazine noted the school has a 100 percent "pass rate" on the annual Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Dublin High also had an Academic Performance Index score of 867, above the state average.

In partnership with the American Institute for Research, U.S. News & World Report analyzed schools on a state level based upon how well each school's students performed on state assessments, according to the website.

High schools that ranked highly on the state level analysis were then eligible to be ranked nationally. National rankings were determined by the degree to which each school had prepared its students for college.

This determination involved assessing the number of advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs taken by students at each school, according to the website.

Billie Withrow May 09, 2012 at 10:56 PM
James. Your link is broken. Any updated link?
James Morehead May 09, 2012 at 11:36 PM
The link is correct, I think the length of the link is causing the problem as a click-through from Dublin Patch. Here is a short URL that should work: http://tinyurl.com/dhs-rankings.
Jim McGill May 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I'm sure this was an innocent mistake but why not correct it after submitting it incorrectly? The API is is pretty solid at 867 but the student population being way underreported and consequently, the teacher to student ratio being listed as far more favorible than it actually is had a major influence. 7 to 1 vs. 24 to 1 is a huge discrepancy. Also, reporting that 100% of the student body both took and passed the AP exam when only 463 did had another huge impact. Those two mistakes are pretty major errors and someone should be accountable, especially when they went so long without being corrected. The correct numbers drastically change the rankings.
James Morehead May 10, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Jim - the data US News & World Report used was not submitted by the District - the data was pulled from national databases. The school districts play no part in the rankings process - and US News & World Report incorrectly relies on national databases (which are in turn fed from state databases) that, with 22,000 schools in the country, will inevitably have errors. There is a response from the school district that Patch just published which clarifies that point. The real problem here is that US News & World Report didn't do any sanity checking of the data - not just of Dublin High but of other schools where the data was wrong. A high school in Nevada (ranked #13) also had wrong enrollment data. US News & World Report should have contacted the school district of Dublin High and other schools where the data didn't make any sense. And while they can't confirm the validity of data for 22,000 schools should US News & World Report take the time to confirm the top 20? the top 50? the top 100? Accordingly to a reporter I spoke to today who covered the Nevada high school issue, there may be bad data affecting the ranking for other Nevada and California schools.
Jim McGill May 10, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Thanks for your response, James. That's great to know. San Marcos had an even bigger error, with very low API but extremely high ranking because of incorrect reporting of how many took and passed the AP test. USNWR should be ashamed of such shoddy fact-checking.

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