EHS ranked as a top PA high school

By on April 24, 2013

By: TIFFANY WOODALL Review Staff, Staff Writer

When U.S. News and World Report compiled its 2013 rankings of the best high schools in the nation and state, Ephrata High School made the cut.

Of the 687 public high schools in the Commonwealth, only 168 were awarded gold or silver status, which means they placed in the top 2,290 schools nationwide. Based on its position in the national rankings (No. 2,090), EHS landed a silver award and the No. 62 spot in Pennsyvlania.

"I am very proud of the work accomplished at EHS," said Ephrata High School Principal Joane Eby. "Both students and teachers take their learning and teaching seriously."

U.S. News teamed with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and implemented a three-step process to rank each school. First, AIR used reading and math scores on state proficiency exams, taking into consideration the percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled at the school, to identify whether or not a school was performing better than statistically expected.

Then, AIR compared the math and reading proficiencies of disadvantaged students (defined by U.S. News as black, Hispanic and low-income) with the statewide results for these student groups and selected the schools performing better than the state average.

Finally, AIR assigned each of those schools a college readiness index (CRI), which was calculated by dividing the number of 12th-grade students in 2010-2011 who took at least one AP or IB test before or during their senior year by the total number of 12th-grade students enrolled at the school. The number of students who passed, divided by the total number of 12th-grade students enrolled at the school, yielded the quality adjusted AP or IB participation rate, which was used to determine the final rankings.

Eby said EHS offers AP courses in American history, European history, economics, calculus AB, calculus BC, German, Spanish, biology, physics C, composition and literature.

Data was analyzed from a total of 21,035 public high schools nationwide (with the exception of Nebraska, as data from the 2010-2011 school year was not sufficient). Schools ranked No. 1 through 500 were awarded gold medals; schools ranked No. 501 through 2,290 were awarded silver medals. Those schools were then ranked within their respective states based on their national position.

"I think that we have taken a focused effort over the last three years to make sure that all students were being successful," said Dr. Brian Troop, assistant superintendent for secondary education at Ephrata Area School District. "We were pleased that the hard work we’re doing is being recognized by an independent national report. We still have more work to do. We want to be even better next year than we were this year."

Eby agreed: "Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were in the 90th percentiles in everything? That’s where we want to be; that’s our target."

Other top-performing schools in Lancaster County include Lampeter-Strasburg High School (No. 44 in Pennsylvania and No. 1,417 in the U.S.); Manheim Township High School (No. 47 in Pennsylvania and No. 1,480 in the U.S.); Conestoga Valley High School (No. 67 in Pennsylvania and No. 2,219 in the U.S.); and Hempfield High School, which received national recognition but was unranked. More EHS, page A6

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