U.S. News says Wilsonville High School among state's best
The U.S. News and World Report's 2017 Best High Schools list was released last week, stating that West Linn and Wilsonville high schools are among the highest-performing in Oregon.
West Linn High School finished at second in Oregon, behind Beaverton's School of Science and Technology, while Wilsonville High School finished fourth out of 328 total high schools.
According to the U.S. News, the list aimed to rank high schools based on a variety of criteria, including performance on math and reading parts of the school's state proficiency tests (Smarter Balanced Assessments), graduation rates, and the degree to which students are prepared for college-level work. U.S. News partnered with North Carolina-based RTI International, a nonprofit social science research firm, to conduct the nationwide study, reviewing a total of 28,496 public schools. Overall, West Linn High finished 520th in the nation while Wilsonville High finished 731st.
The list also gave high schools an award rating based on four specific criteria, the first of which was how the school's students were performing compared to what was statistically expected in the state. The next step was looking at whether or not disadvantaged students — black, Hispanic and low-income — performed at or better than the state average for the least-advantaged students. Step three required schools to meet or surpass a benchmark for their graduation rate, and step four tested college-readiness performance using Advanced Placement test data as the benchmark for success.
Both West Linn and Wilsonville high schools earned Silver Awards, meaning they met criteria for the first three steps, but that their college-readiness score wasn't up to par for a Gold Award. According to U.S. News' data, Wilsonville earned a 49.6 rating on a 1-100 scale
in terms of career-readiness and West Linn earned a 55.2 rating.
Wilsonville High Principal Dan Schumaker said the school district doesn't put too much stock into national rankings like the 2017 Best High Schools list, instead focusing on more consistent formative assessments.
"We don't really use those types of assessments per se, but we hear about them and we appreciate the recognition," Schumaker said. "But what's most important for us is that we have a sense that kids are doing well. We have lots of indicators as to how kids are doing in every class. If there's been a change district-wide, it's teachers paying more attention to those pieces of teaching that show you how kids are doing in real time. This (list) is kind of the opposite of that, but we're also not surprised to hear those results and are always appreciative of the recognition."
West Linn High School Principal Kevin Mills agreed with Schumaker, but added that the report is a nice acknowledgement nonetheless.
"No school is going to get a rating like that without tremendous community support, incredible teachers and students committed to learning," Mills said. "We don't pay a whole lot of attention to these type of rankings, and I care about individual success of each kid more than a collective ranking like this, but it's always exciting to be recognized. I give credit to our teachers and our students."
Overall, Oregon ranked 36th in the United States. In terms of state rankings, Lakeridge followed West Linn at third in Oregon, while Summit High School was fifth, followed by South Eugene High School, Westview High School, Franklin High School, Oregon City High School and Mountain View Senior High School.