Hoquiam High School students, teachers and parents have reason to be proud — they are now nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding high schools in the state with a bronze ranking by a recent U.S. News & World Report evaluation of public schools.
The report, which is based on data from the 2010-11 school year, is a collaboration between U.S. News and the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research, one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world.
The researchers sought to evaluate all of a school’s students — not just those who are bound for college — to show educators how they are doing. They analyzed 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. All were public high schools with 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data from the 2010-2011 school year.
The ranking determinations were made using a multiple-step process. The first step determined whether students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state in reading and math on each state’s high school proficiency tests.
Of the 116 Hoquiam students whose proficiency exam scores were evaluated for the ranking, only 3 percent were below the basic level of proficiency. Six percent were at basic, 26 percent were proficient and 65 percent were advanced. In writing, 2 percent of 113 Hoquiam students evaluated were below the basic proficiency and five percent were at basic proficiency. Fifty-one percent are considered proficient writers, and 39 percent are considered advanced.
Also factored into the national rankings was proficiency on state exams of economically disadvantaged students, or typically under-performing subgroups who tend to score lower, to identify the schools that were performing better than statistical expectations. The percentage of “disadvantaged” students at Hoquiam who are considered proficient is 80.5 percent, compared with 96 percent of non-disadvantaged students who are considered proficient.
The last step the report took was measuring which schools produced the best college-level achievement for the highest percentage of their students by calculating their College Readiness Index. Only schools with a CRI value at or above 14.8 scored high enough to meet the criteria for gold or silver medal selection.
Hoquiam High School is listed as having “near the Washington average” 18 to 1 student/teacher ratio (the state average is 17 to 1) and as being near the average proficiency in writing with a score of 3.2 out of a possible 5, above the state average with a reading proficiency score of 3.5 out of 5, and as having a college readiness score of 11.4, considered “near” the state average.
In total, the report nationally ranked the 4,805 highest-scoring schools as gold, silver and bronze.
In order to win a gold or silver medal and be numerically ranked, a high school had to pass steps 1 and 2 and have a CRI at or above the median average.
Bronze medals, like that won by Hoquiam High School, were awarded to an additional 2,515 high schools that passed the first two steps. Such schools either do not offer any Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, or their college readiness index was less than the median of 14.8 needed to be ranked silver.
Hoquiam High School’s college readiness index was based on AP scores. The participation rate of AP student performance was 9 percent, with a 20 percent participant passing rate.
The report also published other numerical rankings for the best high schools in each state and for the best charter schools and best magnet schools on a national level. State rankings were based on whether a high school is nationally ranked gold or silver. All schools are numerically ranked in their states based on their position in the national rankings.
While Hoquiam School District Superintendent Mike Parker was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon, he expressed his excitement for the district on the message board for Hoquiam High School evaluation on the usnews.com website, saying, “We are pleased to see HHS get recognized for the work the staff has done over the years. An achieving school is the result of supportive board of directors and community.”
While Hoquiam High School was the only Grays Harbor school to receive a national medal from the report, the others were also listed as follows:
• J M Weatherwax High School (Aberdeen High School): College Readiness Index, 1.1. Writing Proficiency, 2.8. Reading Proficiency, 2.8. Student/Teacher Ratio, 20:1.
• North Beach Senior High School (Oyehut): College Readiness Index, 8.5. Writing Proficiency, 2.9, Reading Proficiency, 3.0, Student/Teacher Ratio, 14:1.
• Ocosta Junior-Senior High (Westport): College Readiness Index, 8.3, Writing Proficiency, 2.8, Reading Proficiency, 3.1, Student/Teacher Ratio, 16:1.
• North River School (Brooklyn): College Readiness Index, n/a, Writing Proficiency, n/a, Reading Proficiency, n/a, Student/Teacher Ratio, 5:1.
• Elma High School: College Readiness Index, 4.1, Writing Proficiency, 2.9, Reading Proficiency, 3.0, Student/Teacher Ratio, 19:1.
•Wishkah Valley Elementary/High School: College Readiness Index, n/a. Writing Proficiency, 3.0, Reading Proficiency, 3.5, Student/Teacher Ratio, 20:1.
• Montesano Junior-Senior High School: College Readiness, 7.9, Writing Proficiency, 3.2, Reading Proficiency, 3.3, Student/Teacher Ratio, 21:1.
• Harbor High School (Aberdeen): College Readiness, n/a, Writing Proficiency, 2.2., Reading Proficiency, 2.2, Student/Teacher Ratio, 14:1.
• South Bend High School: College Readiness, n/a, Writing Proficiency, 3.0, Reading Proficiency, 2.8, Student/Teacher Ratio, 17:1.
• Raymond Junior-Senior High School: College Readiness, 2.4, Writing Proficiency, 3.1, Reading Proficiency, 2.7, Student/Teacher Ratio 14:1.
• Willapa Valley High School: College Readiness, n/a, Writing Proficiency, 3.6, Reading Proficiency, 3.3, Student/Teacher Ratio, 13:1.
• Lake Quinault High School: College Readiness, n/a. Writing Proficiency, 2.6, Reading Proficiency, 2.6, Student/Teacher Ratio, 13:1.
• Taholah High School: College Readiness, n/a. Writing Proficiency, 2.2, Reading Proficiency, 2.8, Student/Teacher Ratio, 5:1.
U.S. News & World Report rankings for Washington State