Both West Hartford high schools were once again ranked among the top schools in Connecticut, and in the top 3% nationally in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report ranking of the country’s public high schools.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford’s two public high schools – Hall High School and Conard High School – continue their legacy of earning top rankings in the state as well as nationally in the U.S. News & World Report 2022 list of the nation’s best high schools released Tuesday.
The rankings for Hall and Conard have been nearly identical over the years, with this year Hall coming in at No. 12 among all public high schools in Connecticut and Conard ranked No. 14. In 2021, Conard was ranked No. 10 statewide and Hall was ranked No. 12.
Three of the top-rated schools are magnet or charter schools (Connecticut IB Academy, Marine Sciences Magnet High School of Southeastern, and Achievement First Hartford Academy) and among traditional high schools other than Conard and Hall, the only other Hartford County High Schools among the top 15 were Farmington High School (No. 10), Simsbury High School (No. 11), and Avon High School (No. 15).
The other traditional high schools in the top 15 are all located in Fairfield County and include Darien (the state’s top-ranked school in 2022, Weston, Staples (Westport), New Canaan, Ridgefield, Greenwich, and Wilton.
Nationally for 2022, Hall is ranked No. 533 while Conard is No. 566 – out of more than 24,000 schools reviewed by U.S. News & World Report.
“Once again we are thrilled at the recognition of the work of our students in continuing the tradition of excellence at both Conard and Hall,” Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore told We-Ha.com after learning of the 2022 report. “Both schools are very deserving of being gold medal schools, and this recognition reflects the efforts of our teachers from Pre-K through 12th grade.”
As was the case with the 2021 rankings, each school was assigned a numerical score. This year’s score was based on the number of students who took at least on Advanced Placement (AP) exam, the number of students who passed at least one AP exam, and graduation rate. Mathematics and reading proficiency were also factors in the score.
Both Conard and Hall received A-plus level grades, with nearly identical numerical scores.
At Hall, 69% of students took at least one AP exam, and 58% received a grade of at least 3 or higher on one AP exam. The school ranks 13th in the state among all high schools on the U.S. News “College Readiness” index and 12th statewide on both the “State Assessment Proficiency” and “State Assessment Performance” indexes.
Specific details regarding Hall’s ranking can be found here.
At Conard, the AP exam participation rate was 76%, and 65% of students received a passing grade of at least 3. Conard is ranked seventh in the state among all high schools on the U.S. News “College Readiness” index and sixth on the “College Curriculum Breadth” index.
Specific details regarding Conard’s ranking can be found here.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the total minority enrollment at Hall is 40%, and 21% of students are considered economically disadvantaged. At Conard, the report indicated the total minority enrollment is 44%, and 29% of students are considered economically disadvantaged.
The data for the most recent ranking was based on the 2019-2020 school year, and therefore is the first year the report’s data was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. News & World Report provided the following details about how the calculation was done this year:
“Without 2019-2020 assessment data available, U.S. News relied on historic assessment data from the three prior ranking years while also incorporating for the first time state science assessment data from the 2018-2019 school year to capture a broader measure of student learning. Specifically, an average of the following years and academic subjects were used: 2016-2017 math and reading assessment data; 2017-2018 math and reading assessment data; and 2018-2019 math, reading and science assessment data. Note that U.S. News only incorporated math and reading assessment data without science for Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Tennessee; all other states had science data incorporated in their assessment ranking factors for 2018-2019.
“In contrast to state assessments, ranking factors pertaining to graduation rates and college readiness incorporated 2019-2020 cohorts. This means 50% of the ranking calculations used completely new data.”
The vast majority of all public high schools in the country are ranked according to U.S. News’ 2022 methodology, the organization said in a news release.
“In coordination with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm, U.S. News ranked approximately 17,840 public high schools out of the nearly 24,000 reviewed. This is the count of public high schools that had a 12th grade enrollment of 15 students or greater, or otherwise had sufficient enrollment in other high school grades during the 2019-2020 school year to be analyzed,” U.S. News stated.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, part of the Fairfax County Public Schools district, is once again ranked No. 1 in the country according to U.S. News.
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