2012 Top Public Schools

Our exclusive ranking of public high schools in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, and Union counties




How and Why We Prepared the Ranking

As we have every year since 2009, we enlisted the help of statistician Zhi Zhang, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UNC Charlotte, to analyze the data and prepare the list. Our goal was to identify academically successful schools as well as schools that provide an environment conducive to exceptional learning.

It’s important to note that differences among schools on the list are often quite small—any school could fairly exchange places with another school one or two positions higher or lower. We offer these rankings not as the final word on school quality, but as a single tool in the decision-making and evaluation process for parents, students, and educators.

Not all high schools in this ranking are traditional high schools. We included these schools because we’d be remiss in leaving them out simply because they offer different curricula.

The list is based on two overarching criteria: environment and performance. The environment factor includes variables such as proportion of students enrolled in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or college classes; average class size; proportion of highly qualified teachers; and proportion of board-certified teachers. The performance factor includes variables such as average combined SAT score and four-year graduation rate. Schools that could not provide data for any one of the variables were not included in the analysis. For example, CMS’s Hough and Rocky River high schools are relatively new; they did not have a senior class last year. Therefore, no average SAT score was available, and we did not include those schools.

First, two larger sets of variables were determined: the variables for the environment factor and the variables for the performance factor. For each variable of each set, we organized a separate comparison of all schools, with the smallest value in the ranking being the top-ranked school and the largest value being the bottom-ranked school. If there was a tie, each of the tied schools shared the lowest rank value of that tier. Collectively, these rank scores formed a basis for our analysis. There are several options in establishing scores for ranking purposes. We chose to rank scores because they tend to be more robust—if a school has an extremely low or high reading on a variable, that would not have an outsize effect on the school’s position in the overall ranking.

For the environment factor, we calculated the average of the rank scores on all variables in that set for each school. Then we repeated the process for the performance factor, calculating the average of the rank scores on all variables in that set for each school.

For each school, a weighted average of the two rank scores, one from the environment ranking and one from the performance ranking, was calculated with a weight of 0.25 on the environment and 0.75 on the performance. The overall ranking was then performed based on the weighted average rank scores among all schools. Schools in a tied tier share the lowest rank value in that tier.

 

Click image to enlarge the chart.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Volunteer): Rick McDermott

He gets up earlier than most other people. He goes to bed later than most other people. And in the hours in between, he spends his life giving to other people

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Philanthropy): Six Charities Worth Your Dollar

This is a generous city. A recent study in the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked the Charlotte metro area ninth among large American cities for the percentage of income its residents give to charity. But how do you know where to give? Start here. These groups provide healthy food, mentoring, after-school tutoring, and help paying the bills

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Public Service): Anne Tompkins

She prosecuted the mayor. She investigated Saddam Hussein’s regime. She can be stern. But for Anne Tompkins, bringing justice brings her joy

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Sports): BB&T Ballpark

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by signing up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Newsletter Sign Up
Email*
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Blogs »

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

‘Because I’m Through Being Cool’: Fatherhood and Saves the Day

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Dip-Dyed Napkins

Add a personal, hand-crafted touch to your Thanksgiving table

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Vegan Home Delivery Goes Statewide

With the click of a button, Nourish brings delicious, healthy food to your doorstep -- regardless of whether or not you reside in Charlotte

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

The Weekday Roundup: Mythbusters, Actor's Theatre, & Thanksgiving Parade

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

Symphony and Circus: Five Questions with Cirque Musica

Comments

Edit ModuleShow Tags