Report: Irvington, Dobbs Ferry High Schools Among Westchester's 'Most Challenging'

Irvington High School. Photo credit: Anastos Engineering Associates
Irvington High School. Photo credit: Anastos Engineering Associates
Irvington and Dobbs Ferry high schools have been named the fifth and sixth most challenging among public and private Westchester County high schools, respectively, according to a new report by the Washington Post.

The schools garnered scores of 3.882 and 3.537 using the publication's methodology which is partially described below:

"America's Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools through an index formula that's a simple 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 graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates."

Bronxville High School was first in the county with a score of 4.933, followed by second-place Rye High School (4.220), number three Yonkers High School (4.212), Harrison High School (fourth, 4.205) and Irvington and Dobbs Ferry.

Bronxville ranked seventh in the state, while Rye, Yonkers and Harrison were 16th, 17th and 18th, respectively. Irvington was 25th and Dobbs Ferry was 29th.

Rounding out the top 10 in the county are number seven Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua (3.371), Croton-Harmon High School in Croton-on-Hudson (eighth, 3.349), Edgemont High School in Scarsdale (ninth, 3.321) and Rye Neck High School in Mamaroneck (10th, 3.155).

The ranking's author, journalist Jay Mathews, told Patch that his report's methodology has not changed over the years.

"I am still focused on getting more challenges for average kids," said Mathews. "The [Washington] DC area now does great, but I shake my head when I see on the Scarsdale website the little box assuring parents that kids who get into their Advanced Topics substitute for AP are carefully selected, and not everyone (meaning to me everyone who might benefit from such a challenge) can get in."

More than 2,000 schools now qualify for the ranking. "That first year in 1998 we had only 243 so that is a big change," said Mathews. "But it is still only 9 percent of all high schools.

"As for the College Board, I revere their work with AP. The vice president for AP, Trevor Packer, is a great scholar of high schools and is doing much to make them better, like creating a new extended essay. The SAT, on the other hand, is still a big waste in my view. Better if we replaced it with AP, IB or AICE." 

Click here to see the full list on the Washington Post website.

Click here to see more information and the publication's methodology.

Patch Editor Lanning Taliaferro contributed to this report.


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