John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor is the most challenging high school in northern New England, according to a list compiled by the Washington Post.
“America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” created every year by the news organization, ranked the local private school 379th out of 2,029 high schools nationwide, closely followed by Falmouth High School at 407th ….
John Bapst’s score was 3.33. Head of school Mel McKay said 70 percent of John Bapst students take at least one of the 17 Advanced Placement exams offered. John Bapst has a graduation rate of 99 percent and a college enrollment rate of about 98 percent.
“We’re delighted,” MacKay said Tuesday.
“For a Bangor city councilor or an area realtor … this is a pretty big feather in our cap to have both a high quality private school and a high quality public school make the list,” he said.
John Bapst is more selective than public schools in Maine, but MacKay said the acceptance rate for day students applying is over 90 percent. …
The Washington Post intentionally does not include student scores on the tests when calculating the ranking.
“I decided not to count passing rates in this way because I found that many high schools kept those rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses. AP, IB and AICE are important because they give average students a chance to experience the trauma of heavy college reading lists and long, analytical college examinations,” said Matthews. “Research has found that even low-performing students who got a 2 on an AP test did significantly better in college than similar students who did not take AP.”
Advanced Placement tests are scored up to 5. A 3 is considered a passing grade.
In the same vein, schools that have exceptionally high average SAT and ACT scores were excluded from the list.
Mathews explained this list “is designed to identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests.”