DELMAR — U.S. News & World Report rated Bethlehem Central High School as the highest-ranking school in the Albany metro area in its latest annual Best High Schools list.
Bethlehem Central High School ranked at No. 795 in a comprehensive report released Tuesday, April 26. The national rankings included more than 24,000 high schools across the country.
Bethlehem Central’s placement within the report marked an improvement from last year when the high school was ranked No. 901.
“Every day we see our high school students doing exceptional things and finding success in so many areas,” said Bethlehem Central Superintendent Jody Monroe. “This is not only testament to their hard work and perseverance but to BC faculty, staff, and an entire school community that is dedicated to seeing each student meet their potential and achieve their goals.”
Schools were ranked based on a 100-point scale considering six factors; College Readiness, State Assessment Proficiency, State Assessment Performance, Underserved Student Performance, College Curriculum Breadth and Graduation Rate.
“The Best High Schools rankings take a comprehensive approach to evaluating schools,” said Eric Brooks, principal data analyst at U.S. News. “Looking at factors like graduation rates and underserved student performance, families can use this information to learn more about their local schools.”
The publication’s annual list favors high schools in which students take and pass advanced placement courses. The proportions of seniors who took and passed at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam determined each school’s College Readiness score, which represented 30% of the publication’s 100-point scale. And passing is worth three times more than just taking the exam. Whereas graduation rate factors into only 10% of a school’s overall score.
Where Bethlehem Central and Guilderland Central are relative equals in both social-economic standing (13% of BC students are economically disadvantaged to Guilderland’s 16%) and total enrollment (1426 to 1498, respectively), the line is drawn by advanced placement tests.
Approximately 62% of Bethlehem Central seniors took an AP exam, while 54% passed at least one. Conversely, 45% of Guilderland seniors took advanced tests and 38% passed.
Voorheesville Central continued to smash perceptions that small, rural schools underperform. Clayton A. Bouton High School was ranked No. 999 nationally, No. 99 in the state, and No. 2 in the Albany area while earning a score of 94.4.
Assessment test data used in the 2022 rankings in almost all cases is from the 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. Science assessment tests used for the first time are only incorporated for 2018-2019 data. High school graduation rates data used in the 2022 rankings are from the 2019-2020 school year.
From Clayton A. Bouton, subject proficiency scores in reading, math and science were no lower than 91% among Voorheesville’s 75 seniors. Of those students, 70% took an AP exam, 58% passed and 99% graduated.
Within Spotlight Newspapers’ reading area, Clayton A. Bouton is one of two high schools U.S. News labeled as a “Fringe Rural” school. Though the publication didn’t provide a definition, Clayton A. Bouton has a reported enrollment of 325 students between grades 9 and 12. The area’s other Fringe Rural high school, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, has 537.
There is a noted difference in economically disadvantaged students at Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, 41% to Voorheesville Central’s 13%. Of the 12 schools previously mentioned, RCS residents have the lowest median household income. It creates a baseline for perceived challenges throughout the publication’s six factors that determine a school’s overall score.
Despite its showing in the publication’s report, Ravena is on par with schools throughout the state. The high school’s 91% graduation rate was at the median state level. As, too, were all but one of its subject proficiency scores — Ravena’s average in mathematics fell two basis points below the state’s average of 70.
Only 17% of RCS seniors passed an advanced placement exam.