Two Rockford high schools are among America’s Most Challenging High Schools, according to a recently released ranking from The Washington Post that measures how successfully schools academically challenge their students. This is the second consecutive year Auburn and Guilford high schools have made the list of nationwide rankings. The distinction is compiled and announced by Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews. (View the rankings and accompanying column.)
The designation is determined by a ratio: The number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduate. Auburn High School is ranked 13 of 65 in Illinois; Guilford High School is ranked 53 and has increased its ranking from 2016.
“Enrolling students in rigorous coursework is a priority for the district,” said Deputy Superintendent Matt Vosberg. “We’re very pleased that Auburn and Guilford have made a national ranking, and we’re looking forward to all our schools’ continued success.”
Both the number of students taking AP courses and the number of courses is growing. In the 2014-15 school year Guilford offered a total of 606 AP course seats, compared to 697 AP course seats this school year. Based on course requests, Guilford could offer more than 780 AP course seats in the 2017-18 school year. In 2015-16 at Auburn, 1,200 AP course seats were offered, and school leaders expect more than 1,320 course seats will be offered in the 2017-18 school year, based on course requests. Auburn this school year administered 952 AP exams, and students are taking an average of two AP courses.
Only about 12 percent of schools across the country made this year’s list, which includes public and private schools. Auburn and Guilford are the only Rockford-area schools to make the list. RPS 205 leaders know AP courses better prepare students for college because of their rigor. AP allows students to dig deeper into subjects and have the opportunity to earn college credit.