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UCSD College Prep School Named Top In San Diego By Newsweek Magazine

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Aired 6/16/10

A college preparatory high school on the UCSD campus, which aims to equip disadvantaged children with skills to excel at the university level, is the highest-ranking San Diego County school in Newsweek
magazine's compilation of 1,600 top American schools.

A college preparatory high school on the UCSD campus, which aims to equip disadvantaged children with skills to excel at the university level, is the highest-ranking San Diego County school in Newsweek

magazine's compilation of 1,600 top American schools.

Preuss School UCSD is ranked number 16 in Newsweek's annual survey.

The school, which is on the UCSD campus in La Jolla, is a charter school within the San Diego Unified School District. Its goal is to provide a rigorous college prep education for motivated low-income students aiming to become the first in their families to graduate from college.

Oxford Academy, in the Orange County suburban community of Cypress, is the highest-rated Southern California school, ranked number 11.

Other San Diego County schools ranking in the top 200 are the San Diego High School for International Studies, rated number 89; Torrey Pines High School in La Jolla, 124; and Canyon Crest High School in Encinitas, 197.

Newsweek compiles the annual list based on the number of Advanced Placement classes, and on standardized test scores.

Comments

Avatar for user 'myvellez'

myvellez | June 19, 2010 at 5:08 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Surveys such as this one by Newsweek and reports such as this by KPBS imply that "high ranking" schools are providing a better education to their students than other schools. The implicit assertion is that test scores are high because its teachers and program provide a superior education. It is certainly possible that the Preuss School UCSD has excellent teachers and a strong academic program. However, these rankings based on test scores are hardly evidence of that. The report fails to mention that unlike most other schools, the Preuss School UCSD recruits and selects its students through an application process. Its website states, "The Preuss School will recruit and enroll the most promising youngsters . . ." Handpicking the very best students, even those from socioecomonmically disadvantaged households, guarantees an extremely high test score average. Even the lowest performing schools have students that consistently score advanced in their state test scores. Filling a school with only such students and then comparing test scores with other schools whose enrollment is based on neighborhood boundaries is hardly a fair contest. Steven Levitt's examination of school choice in the Chicago public school district in his book Freakonomics suggests that what school a student attends does not have an impact on his or her test scores. In the study referenced, even students who did not get into their preferred school were equaly successful. Levitt surmises that the students and families applying into the program likely already valued education so much that their sucess in terms of test scores was already likely. One way to examine the real effect of the Preuss School UCSD is to look at the success of the students who were not selected from their applicant pool. When delivering a resport such as this, KPBS or the originating newsource should at least point out that the school's admittance is by application, only the best students are selected, and so a high score ranking would be expected.

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