CHS ranks second

By Arjun Swaminathan and Isabel Dibble

CHS is among the top high schools in Maryland once again, according to the annual U.S. News and World Report High School Rankings released May 12.

After being removed from the list last year, CHS reentered at second in Maryland and 69th in the nation. In 2013, CHS was ranked first in the state.

“I am thrilled that we are ranked again because for so many years we were number one in Maryland,” Principal Joan Benz said. “I’m absolutely delighted that we’re back in the running.”

According to a May 11 U.S. News and World Report article, the rankings are determined by a three-step process. The first step examines the ability of low-income students within a school to perform better on standardized tests than what is statistically expected of them, the second compares these scores to the state average and the third measures which schools have the best colleg-readiness performance by analyzing Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) statistics.

Last year, CHS was not listed as one of the best schools because it did not pass step one of the U.S. News evaluation process, with a large disparity between the performance of average and economically disadvantaged students.

According to an April 2014 Bethesda Magazine article, Sid Groeneman of Groeneman Research and Consulting, a Bethesda company that specializes in opinion, policy and marketing surveys, believes that the U.S. News ranking is misleading because once a school fails a step, it’s out of the running to be ranked. Groeneman suggests that the steps would be better used as components within the evaluation process and not thresholds to be passed.

CHS administration continues to work on reducing the disparity between the performance of low-income and minority students and other students on state tests in math and reading.

“We’ve looked at what areas students are having difficulty with and then we’re trying to build support in their foundations,” Benz said.

The only school ranked ahead of CHS in Maryland is Walt Whitman High School, which is ranked at 55th in the nation.

“I wish we were still ranked first because that gave us bragging rights,” junior Marcos Rojas said.  “Second is still really good, however.”

For now, the CHS community will continue to strive for success and live up to its reputation as one of the 100 best high schools in the U.S.

“Whitman’s number one and we’re number two and when you’re number two you have to try harder,” Benz said. “The goal for next year is first in Maryland once again.”