Shawnee Mission schools left off U.S. News ‘Best High Schools’ list, but SM North earns distinction

SM North earned a Bronze Medal in U.S. News and World Report's 2016 rankings of high schools.
SM North earned a Bronze Medal in U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 rankings of high schools.

U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 “Best High Schools” lists left Shawnee Mission institutions off its rankings of the top high schools in Kansas.

The rankings, which are based on a series of factors that weigh participation and performance in college-level coursework, state testing, and the success of disadvantaged student populations, put the five Blue Valley School District high schools among the top six in the state, with Olathe Northwest taking spot number four.

The top-ranked Kansas high school, Blue Valley North, had a college readiness index score of 49.4 on the magazine’s 100-point scale. That score is calculated based on the number of students who take and pass Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. SM East, by comparison, had the highest college readiness score in Shawnee Mission at 35.2 — considerably higher than Mill Valley High School, which was listed as the tenth best high school in the state with a college readiness index score of 21.2.

Despite its relatively high performance on the college readiness scale, the differential between SM East students’ performance on state exams and their expected performance based on the demographics of the student population, with a relatively small number of disadvantaged students, appears to have hampered the school’s performance in the overall rankings.

SM North, however, earned a Bronze Medal in the rankings in recognition of a series of factors suggesting that students at the school are performing better than expected given demographic factors. A combination of above-expectations performance for the student body at large as well as disadvantaged students in particular along with a graduation rate that surpasses benchmark levels put SM North in the Bronze category. However, its college readiness score of 15.7 disqualified it from consideration for the Silver level.

You can find U.S. News’s new high school rankings for Kansas here.