Newsweek: D-B 1,425th best high school in nation

Rick Wagner • May 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

KINGSPORT — One magazine’s unranked high school is among another magazine’s top schools in the nation.

On the heels of Dobyns-Bennett High School not making the U.S. News & World Report’s list of best high schools, the Daily Beast/Newsweek Magazine list of top high schools included D-B.

However, absent from the Newsweek list — released May 6 — were Sullivan South High in Sullivan County, University School in the Washington County, Tenn., system and Science Hill in Johnson City, which made the U.S. News list. Both were based on 2011-12 school year data.

"We are extremely proud that Dobyns-Bennett has once again been recognized as one of America’s best high schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine," Kingsport Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said Thurdsay. "I believe this recognition is a true testament of the hard work our students, faculty and staff put in year round. Newsweek’s Best High Schools listing demonstrates the importance of Advanced Placement classes in our schools, providing the opportunity for our students to have a world education and college credit before college."

This is the eighth time D-B has been named to the Newsweek list. Prior lists were published in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

As for the U.S. News rankings, city school officials have questioned the U.S. News methodology of counting only high-schoolers who take Algebra I and test proficient in high school. They said that about 250 middle-schoolers a year, about 40 percent of students, take and pass Algebra I in either the seventh or eighth grade.

Some systems have no middleschoolers taking Algebra I.

D-B was the only high school in the Tri-Cities to make the top 2,000 Newsweek national list, at 1,425. That put it at 15th in a list of 18 in Tennessee and in the top 6 percent nationwide.

The only other East Tennessee high school on the Newsweek list east of Knoxville was Morristown-Hamblen West.

Newsweek’s rankings are only of public high schools, while U.S. News included private schools.

"This year our ranking highlights the best 2,000 public high schools in the nation — those that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready grads," the Newsweek website says. "The list is based on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent)."

AP is Advanced Placement, IB International Baccalaurate and AICE is the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education Diploma.

D-B only administers AP tests and does not offer an IB program. Approximately 524 AP tests were administered to D-B students in 2012. The number of seniors graduating from D-B in 2012 was 415.

All told, 81.4 percent of D-B High School students who completed an AP test scored at least a three out of five or better. An AP exam score ranging from a three to five in most cases qualifies students for college credit in the subject area. The average score for all AP tests taken by D-B students was 3.6 in 2012.

The Newsweek rankings in Tennessee put Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet School in Nashville as first in Tennessee and 70th statewide. A close second was Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Nashville.

According to U.S. News the No. 1 school in Tennessee, ranked 37th nationally, was Hume-Fogg. It was ranked a gold school.

Across East Tennessee, according to U.S. News, Oak Ridge near Knoxville was sixth, while Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville was 10th, Morristown West 16th and Greeneville 18th.

Nationwide, that put University School at No. 1,148 and Science Hill at No. 1,704.

Tennessee schools below the top 23 — including South — were not numerically ranked state- wide or nationwide.

The U.S. News national rankings of high schools for 2013, released April 23, gave South a bronze ranking nationally, although South did not rank in the top 23 schools statewide. Out of all Tennessee high schools, five were awarded gold medals, 18 silver and 66 bronze.

In the top 23 high schools, the only Tri-Cities schools to make that list were University School at No. 12 and Science Hill at 19. Both those, and the top 23 out of 350 Tennessee high schools, ranked silver nationally.

Detailed information and explanations of the rankings are available at http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools. The rankings are based on 2010-11 data.

For the Newsweek rankings and methodology, go to www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/05/06/america-s-best-high-schools.html.

For a May 5 Kingsport Times-News article on the U.S. News rankings, go to http://www.timesnews.net/article/9061436/u-s-news-and-world-report-gives-sullivan? south-bronze-ranking-researching? d-b? .

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