Closer Look: GRC among Kentucky’s top 100 high schools

George Rogers Clark High School was recently ranked among the top 100 Kentucky high schools.

GRC placed 61st out of 382 high schools in Kentucky, according to the latest statistics from U.S. News & World Report.


Nationally, GRC placed 4,462 out of about 17,000 schools that had a 12th-grade enrollment of 15 or more and had sufficient enrollment in other high school grades, meaning it placed in the top 26 percent of schools in the nation. The publication changed its rating this year so more schools will be part of the ranking.

According to the report, GRC had an overall score of 74.13 out of 100.

GRC also had a 97 percent graduation rate, which is among some of the highest rates in the nation.

As a state, Kentucky ranked 20th in the nation out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia with having 24.3 percent of its schools in the Top 25 percent nationally; 7.9 percent of its schools in the Top 10 percent and 4 percent of its schools in the top 5 percent.

According to U.S. News, GRC’s score cannot be compared to its previous rankings as the entire methodology has changed this year.

How it was calculated

According to Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, and Eric Brooks, senior data analyst at U.S. News, “a great high school educates all students from different social and economic backgrounds, exposing them to challenging coursework on the path to graduation.”

Under U.S. News’ revamped rankings methodology, it ranked nearly every public high school. In coordination with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm, U.S. News ranked 17,245 public high schools out of more than 23,000 reviewed, Morse and Brooks wrote.

U.S. News summed each school’s weighted scores across six indicators of school quality, then computed for each school a single zero to 100 overall rating reflective of performance across these metrics. The total scores depict how well each school did on a national percentile basis.

U.S. News assigned ranks in descending order of overall scores. U.S. News also displayed schools without a grade 12 or with small enrollment as “Unranked.”

According to Morse and Brooks, it is a significant change from last year’s rankings where schools were ineligible to be ranked if they came up short on state assessments or graduation rates. Then, U.S. News included only schools performing well enough on those factors; their rank order determined entirely by U.S. News’ College Readiness Index — measuring AP and IB exam participation and performance.

With the revamped methodology, most schools’ ranks changed significantly between 2018 and 2019 because of the broader competition in terms of the number of schools being newly ranked — more than 14,500.

“Consequently, a school’s rise or fall in the 2019 rankings does not necessarily reflect a difference in its underlying data,” Morse and Brooks wrote.

Since the methodology changed so significantly this year, a school’s ranking in the 2019 Best High Schools ranking can’t compare with its rankings in any previous U.S. News report.

Morse and Brooks wrote it changed its rankings to make it easier to understand and to be more inclusive.

The revamped methodology will “produce more historically comparable results going forward,” Morse and Brooks wrote.

The data used to produce the rankings and published on came from the Common Core of Data is the U.S. Department of Education website; statewide math and reading level assessment tests and high school graduation rates; the College Board; and International Baccalaureate.

The six ranking indicators and their weights used to produce the overall score included:

— College Readiness (30 percent) which is measured by the proportion of a school’s 12th graders that took and passed AP/IB exams.

— College Curriculum Breadth (10 percent) which U.S. News calculated among a school’s 2016-17 12th graders from the percentage who took and the percentage who passed multiple AP/IB exams.

— Math and Reading Proficiency (20 percent) is a simple measure of schools’ student performance on state standardized tests measuring student proficiency in subjects related to mathematics and reading.

— Math and Reading Performance (20 percent) which also is derived from math and reading state assessments. But in this case, the total assessment scores are compared with what U.S. News predicted for a school with its demographic characteristics in its state.

— Underserved Student Performance (10 percent) which is a measure assessing learning outcomes only among black, Hispanic and low-income students.

— Graduation Rate (10 percent) which is the proportion among students who entered ninth grade in the 2012-2013 academic year who graduated four years later by 2016-2017.

Student body

The U.S. News also looked at GRC’s demographics.

Total enrollment at GRC is 1,582 students, bringing the student to teacher ratio to 18:1.

At GRC, students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement coursework and exams. The AP participation rate at GRC is 38 percent.

The total minority enrollment is 15 percent, and 52 percent of students are economically disadvantaged.

About 49 percent of the students are female.

Top 10 Kentucky public high schools

U.S. News says these are the 10 best public high schools in Kentucky, listed with their district:

Dupont Manual High School, Louisville

Brown School, Louisville

Highlands High School, Fort Thomas

Murray High School, Murray

Pikeville High School, Pikeville

North Oldham High School, Goshen

South Oldham High School, Crestwood

Louisville Male High School, Louisville

Glasgow High School, Glasgow

Beechwood High School, Fort Mitchell.