Published in the September 8, 2016 edition
By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING — North Reading High School ranked just below the top third of 155 high schools in the Greater Boston area according to ratings by Boston Magazine this month.
The September edition of the magazine ranked high school’s in the eastern portion of the state, particularly within the Route 495 corridor. According to the rankings, North Reading High School was rated 55th out of 155.
NRHS Principal Anthony J. Loprete said the ranking is a reflection of the hard work put in by the school’s faculty and students.
“Being ranked on the cusp of the top third of best high schools in eastern Mass. is certainly welcome news. Our students continue to demonstrate that they are full participants in their own education. Our teachers are tremendously committed and continue to work collaboratively to maximize student learning. There is a lot of data which reflects this sustained student achievement; it’s nice to see Boston Magazine continue to recognize the good work going on in North Reading,” Loprete said.
Superintendent of Schools Jon Bernard agreed.
“I am pleased to learn that North Reading High School has once again received a distinguished rank inBoston Magazine’s list of “Best Schools in Boston 2016.” This is an honor that reflects the hard work of our teachers, the strong support of the community and the fact that our students come to school well-prepared and focused on their learning. I am thankful for such a validation.
“As I review the data that is analyzed to compile the list and see the communities in our immediate area sharing this ranking, I am pleased with our students’ performance and appreciate the good company of our peer school districts. As the Superintendent of Schools, I will continue to work with our educators and the community at large as we seek to strive for the continuous improvement of our school district to the benefit of all students,” Bernard said.
Dover–Sherborn Regional High School was ranked first by Boston Magazine. Lexington High School was second. Weston High School was third. Wayland High School was fourth and Newton South High School was fifth.
The magazine’s ratings were based on the statistics that North Reading High School has an enrollment of 801 with an average class size of 21.3 and a student–teacher ratio of 12.4.
One possible reason North Reading failed to rank in the survey’s top 50 is that the methodology of the study was changed this year to place greater emphasis on low class sizes. Of the top 50 schools, only two – Boston Latin (at number 26) and Belmont (number 38), have average class sizes over 20–1. Boston Latin’s class size was 26–1 and Belmont’s was 20.4. Class size was weighted differently in 2014, the last time the magazine rated high schools.
MCAS scores in Reading, Math and Science also played an important part in the ratings. Ninety–eight percent of NRHS 10th graders had MCAS Reading scores of “Proficient” or higher, the magazine said. Ninety–one percent scored “Proficient” or higher on MCAS science exams and 89 percent scored “Proficient” or higher in math.
North Reading’s average SAT score in Reading was 540. The average SAT writing score was 527 and the average SAT math score was 548.
Sixty percent of NRHS students taking Advanced Placement courses received passing scores of 3–5 in the AP achievement tests. Generally, scores of 3 or above will result in advanced standing or college credit for incoming freshmen. Scores of 1 and 2 do not merit college placement. According to College Board, many colleges and universities grant credit and placement for scores of 3, 4 and 5 but each college ultimately determines which scores it will accept.
The school’s graduation rate is 97.2 percent and the college attendance rate is 90.1.
The magazine said NRHS has 25 varsity sports teams and four college counselors.
Boston Magazine ranked public high schools in towns or districts that lie within, or partially within, the I-495 corridor.
According to Boston Magazine, the publication used the most recent data for each school available at press time from the Department of Elementary and Secondary (DESE). In the event there was missing information, Boston Magazine “used data from a previous year when necessary.” The publication “omitted highly specialized schools and schools reporting insufficient information.”
In order to calculate the rankings, Boston Magazine used statistician George Recck, who is the director of the Math Resource Center at Babson College. The publication said Recck “analyzed the results” and compared each high school’s data points to the overall average for all schools. Recck then applied a percentage weight to the standardized value for each school to create an aggregate “score.” The score was used to determine each high school’s ranking.
Additionally, Boston Magazine “considered it more desirable to have a smaller class size, a lower student–to–teacher ratio and fewer students per college counselor and sports team.”