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Four CCSD high schools ranked among nation’s most challenging

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Christopher DeVargas

Students assemble wooden blocks to understand concepts during an engineering class at the Advanced Technologies Academy High School, Wednesday Dec. 14, 2011.

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Washington Post rankings over the past three years

  • In 2013, Nevada had 16 schools recognized in the Post's High School Challenge rankings. Four of those schools were from Clark County.
  • In 2012, Nevada had 15 schools recognized in the challenge rankings. Three of those schools were from Clark County.
  • In 2011, Nevada had 21 schools recognized in the challenge rankings. Nine of those schools were from Clark County.

Sixteen Nevada high schools — including four from Clark County — have made the Washington Post's list of the most challenging high schools in the nation.

Since 1998, the Post's High School Challenge list has ranked the country's public high schools using the "challenge index," a measure of how well a school prepares its students for college.

The "challenge index" looks at the ratio of student participation in college-level exams — such as the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams — and the number of graduating seniors at a high school.

The index doesn't take into account students' passing rate on the exams because some high schools can artificially boost their rates by allowing only top students to take the courses and exams.

The Post's high school rankings were designed to identify public schools that are preparing average students to take college-level courses and exams. That’s why the rankings focus on normal-enrollment schools, excluding high schools that score higher on average than the highest-performing comprehensive high school on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.

To be included in the list, schools must have an average SAT score below 1,970 or an average ACT score below 29. The maximum score is 2,400 pointson the SAT and 36 points on the ACT.

Here are the four Clark County School District schools that made the Post's rankings this year:

Advanced Technologies Academy was ranked 517 in the nation and third in the state, behind Coral Academy of Science Charter School in Reno.

The magnet school, which enrolls 1,109 students, has a graduation rate of 96 percent, an average ACT score of 25.5 and an average SAT score of 1,650. About two-thirds of students come from minority backgrounds and 36 percent of students receive free and reduced-price lunches.

Clark High School was ranked 983 in the nation and eighth in the state.

The comprehensive/magnet school, which enrolls 2,903 students, has a graduation rate of 59 percent, an average ACT score of 23.4 and an average SAT score of 1,489. The majority of students come from minority backgrounds and 71 percent receive free and reduced-price lunches.

Green Valley High School was ranked 1,214 in the nation and 11th in the state.

The comprehensive school, which enrolls 2,802 students, has a graduation rate of 68 percent, an average ACT score of 24 and an average SAT score of 1,640. About half of the students come from minority backgrounds and 31 percent receive free and reduced-price lunches.

Liberty High School was ranked 1,424 in the nation and 14th in the state.

The comprehensive school, which enrolls 2,082 students, has a graduation rate of 74 percent, an average ACT score of 20.2 and an average SAT score of 1,408. About two-thirds of students are from minority backgrounds and 36 percent of students receive free and reduced-price lunches.

For a complete list of all the Nevada schools, click here.

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