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Oakton High No. 17 on DC-Area Challenge Index

In Annual Washington Post challenge index that ranks difficulty of high schools locally and nationally, Cougars are lower than 2012 ranking, perform better statewide.

Oakton High School fell from its spot as the highest-ranked Fairfax County school among Washington area schools scored on the Washington Post's annual Challenge Index this year.

Oakton ranked 17th among D.C. area high schools this year, compared to its No.10 spot last year.

George Mason High School in Falls Church, part of the city's school system, was the highest-ranking school in the Fairfax County area at No. 9.

To see the full list, click here.

Since 1998, education reporter Jay Mathews has ranked Washington-area public high schools using the Challenge Index, his measure of how effectively a school prepares its students for college.  

The formula: Divide the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other college-level tests a school gave by the number of graduating seniors.

Also noted are the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for free and reduced lunch (Subs. lunch), an indicator of poverty, and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career, called equity and excellence, (E&E).

More than 170 public and private schools are on the local list; 1,900 are included nationally.

The index is not a measure of the overall quality of the school, but the rating can reveal the level of preparing average students for college, Matthews says.

On the national list, Oakton also fell from No. 109 to 134.

On the state list, Oakton ranked No. 7 among all Virginia schools.

To see the entire list, click here.

What do you think of the rankings? Is your child taking full advantage of the higher-level course work?
This article has been updated to reflect George Mason is part of Falls Church City Public Schools.

Lauri Dabbieri April 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM
George Mason HS is NOT FCPS. It is Falls Church City. Check your facts, please!
Erica R. Hendry April 16, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Thanks Lauri — we've adjusted.

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