An analysis from a Washington Post columnist has again ranked Harrison High School as one of the most challenging in New York state based on the number of college-level exams taken by students.
The High School Challenge formula rewards districts for the amount of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) tests taken by students each year. The formula is created by dividing the number of tests given by the number of graduates in a given class.
In 2011—the class used for this year's study—Harrison was ranked 8th in New York state and second highest in Westchester county, behind only Bronxville. Nationally, Harrison fell out of the top 100 this year, finishing 115th after being ranked 72nd a year ago.
The rankings are based strictly on participation in the tests, not scores. However this year the study includes that 53 percent of Harrison graduates in 2011 passed at least one test. But that number was not used to rank the schools.
Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews created the rankings as a way to evaluate challenges available to students in a given high school. Mathews explains in his column that he focused on tests taken because otherwise districts could inflate their numbers by only allowing top test-takers to participate in the exams.
Other Westchester schools that made the list included Rye (127), Dobbs Ferry (178), Edgemont (180) and Yonkers (224).