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The 2005 Challenge Index

The Washington Post Challenge Index measures a public high school's effort to challenge its students. The formula is simple: Divide the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other college level tests a school gave by the number of seniors who graduated in June. Tests taken by all students, not just seniors, are counted. Washington-area magnet schools with SAT combined verbal and math averages higher than 1300, the highest non-magnet school average in the country, are not included, since they do not have enough average students who need a challenge.

The rating is not a measurement of the overall quality of the school but illuminates one factor that many educators consider important.

When compared with schools across the country, Washington-area schools are overall among the most encouraging of AP and IB testing. In the list below, any school with a rating of 1.000 or above is in the top 5 percent of all U.S. high schools in encouraging students to take AP or IB tests. Also listed is the name of the school district and the percentage of a school's students whose family incomes are low enough to qualify for federally subsidized lunches and who also apply for that program. The number of subsidized-lunch applicants is a rough indicator of socioeconomic factors that may affect student interest in college-level courses.

In parenthesis after each school's name is the school's Equity and Excellence rate, the percentage of all seniors, including those not in AP, calculated by the College Board to have had at least one score of 3 or above on the 5-point test in high school. This statistic is new, the College Board was not able to provide it to all schools, and some schools count the number of seniors differently than others. An IB or combined AP and IB version of that rating was calculated for some IB schools by school district officials at the Post's request. The average AP Equity and Excellence rate for all U.S. schools is 14.1%.
Challenge Index: Complete Coverage

Rank School (Equity & Excellence) District % Lunch Subsidy Rating
1.H-B Woodlawn (82.7%)Arlington14%5.575
2.Richard Montgomery* (60.2%)Montgomery12%5.152
3.Clarke County* (69%)Clarke14%4.633
4.Bethesda-Chevy Chase* (69.2%)Montgomery8%4.179
5.Wootton** (70.1%)Montgomery4%4.157
6.George Mason* (67%)Falls Church8%4.045
7.Yorktown (55.9%)Arlington16%3.926
8.Washington-Lee* (47%)Arlington32%3.845
9.Churchill (68.2%)Montgomery3%3.436
10.Langley (65.5%)Fairfax1%3.399
11.McLean (65.2%)Fairfax6%3.377
12.W.T. Woodson (55.5%)Fairfax5%3.233
13.Centreville (44.3%)Fairfax15%3.173
14.Walter Johnson (58.7%)Montgomery5%3.160
15.Oakton (57.5%)Fairfax9%3.105
16.Whitman (62.7%)Montgomery2%2.978
17.Madison (51.8%)Fairfax5%2.959
18.Lake Braddock (50.8%)Fairfax10%2.924
19.Herndon (44.7%)Fairfax20%2.850
20.Westfield (46.6%)Fairfax10%2.829
21.West Springfield (49.4%)Fairfax9%2.750
22.Springbrook* (34.1%)Montgomery23%2.733
23.Chantilly (49%)Fairfax11%2.718
24.Robinson* (51.3%)Fairfax7%2.672
25.WilsonD.C.43%2.541
26.Broadneck (40.1%)Anne Arundel3%2.501
27.Marshall* (50.8%)Fairfax17%2.489
28.Banneker*D.C.40%2.443
29.Fairfax (37.4%)Fairfax18%2.440
30.Centennial (38.1%)Howard4%2.420
31.Loudoun ValleyLoudoun4%2.389
32.Montgomery Blair (42.4%)Montgomery22%2.364
33.Severna Park (34.4%)Anne Arundel1%2.277
34.River Hill (37.8%)Howard2%2.269
35.West Potomac (37.7%)Fairfax34%2.193
36.Middletown (35%)Frederick, Md.5%2.141
37.Poolesville (44.2%)Montgomery3%2.114
38.John Handley (37.8%)Winchester25%2.049
39.Wakefield (35%)Arlington50%2.030
40.Stone BridgeLoudoun5%2.024
41.Potomac FallsLoudoun9%2.023
42.Hayfield (28.8%)Fairfax16%2.017
43.Stuart* (44.4%)Fairfax52%1.983
44.Magruder (40.9%)Montgomery14%1.967
45.Leonardtown (29.2%)St. Mary's13%1.965
46.Quince Orchard (42.2%)Montgomery11%1.947
47.Sherwood (38.5%)Montgomery9%1.942
48.Falls Church (25.5%)Fairfax37%1.931
49.McDonough (14.4%)Charles15%1.924
50.South River (31.6%)Anne Arundel3%1.902
51.Rockville (36.1%)Montgomery18%1.827
52.Loudoun CountyLoudoun12%1.783
53.Gaithersburg** (29.3%)Montgomery21%1.773
54.Urbana* (35.2%)Frederick, Md.4%1.753
55.Broad RunLoudoun8%1.738
56.Lee* (39.9%)Fairfax30%1.720
57.Blake (42.8%)Montgomery11%1.718
58.Southern (21.2%)Anne Arundel8%1.715
59.Paint Branch (33.5%)Montgomery15%1.692
60.School Without WallsD.C.13%1.674
61.Stonewall Jackson*Prince William24%1.665
62.Stone (12.9%)Charles10%1.641
63.South Lakes* (38.5%)Fairfax28%1.612
64.Watkins Mill* (34%)Montgomery25%1.568
65.Mt. Vernon* (33.8%)Fairfax36%1.567
66.Wheaton (23.4%)Montgomery40%1.563
67.Park ViewLoudoun23%1.555
68.Edison* (40.7%)Fairfax28%1.542
69.Damascus (37.6%)Montgomery6%1.541
70.Gov. Thomas Johnson (30.9%)Frederick, Md.14%1.540
71.Patuxent (28%)Calvert11%1.536
72.Great Mills (18.2%)St. Mary's30%1.517
73.Einstein* (35.4%)Montgomery30%1.517
74.T.C. Williams (20%)Alexandria40%1.494
75.Hylton (20%)Prince William17%1.493
76.Osbourn Park (32.2%)Prince William9%1.475
77.Woodbridge (17%)Prince William24%1.441
78.Northwest (30.6%)Montgomery13%1.439
79.La Plata (21.4%)Charles18%1.437
80.Northern (27.5%)Calvert7%1.409
81.Glenelg (29.6%)Howard2%1.383
82.Manassas Park**Manassas Park21%1.368
83.Seneca Valley (25.8%)Montgomery18%1.367
84.Old Mill (22.4%)Anne Arundel10%1.347
85.Walkersville (35%)Frederick, Md.10%1.346
86.Kennedy (22.9%)Montgomery30%1.333
87.Atholton (27.6%)Howard5%1.329
88.Annandale* (38.1%)Fairfax39%1.329
89.Monroe (19%)Fredericksburg30%1.322
90.Potomac**Prince William26%1.306
91.Eleanor RooseveltPrince George's19%1.302
92.Brentsville** (23.7%)Prince William3%1.296
93.Fauquier (14.9%)Fauquier9%1.279
94.Mount Hebron (24.9%)Howard5%1.247
95.Gar-Field*Prince William31%1.242
96.Massaponax (27.7%0Spotsylvania10%1.241
97.Colonial Forge (24%)Stafford5%1.223
98.Frederick (28.6%)Frederick, Md.22%1.202
99.Westlake (18.4%)Charles8%1.181
100.Math Science Tech CharterD.C.80%1.174
101.CourtlandSpotsylvania11%1.164
102.Chesapeake (18%)Anne Arundel5%1.138
103.Rappahannock County (18.2%)Rappahannock1%1.118
104.Linganore (30.4%)Frederick, Md.5%1.112
105.OsbournManassas12%1.096
106.South Carroll (22.1%)Carroll4%1.087
107.Forest Park (26%)Prince William16%1.080
108.AnnapolisAnne Arundel22%1.053
109.Catoctin (18.2%)Frederick, Md.11%1.043
110.Chopticon (10.1%)St. Mary's10%1.035
111.Howard (17%)Howard6%1.032
112.Wilde Lake (22%)Howard19%1.015
113.Chancellor (21%)Spotsylvania17%1.008
114.SpotsylvaniaSpotsylvania21%0.995
115.MeadeAnne Arundel21%0.968
116.Reservoir (28%)Howard9%0.965
117.Arundel (19.2%)Anne Arundel8%0.964
118.Bell MulticulturalD.C.81%0.930
119.Hammond (20%)Howard11%0.902
120.BowiePrince George's15%0.860
121.Westminster (22.8%)Carroll6%0.849
122.Stafford (15.6%)Stafford10%0.844
123.EllingtonD.C.32%0.841
124.Long Reach (18.2%)Howard17%0.840
125.Winters Mill (22.2%)Carroll15%0.821
126.Liberty (16.4%)Fauquier12%0.817
127.Liberty (20.6%)Carroll2%0.797
128.Century (24.3%)Carroll4%0.792
129.CardozoD.C.66%0.763
130.Brunswick (15.1%)Frederick, Md.12%0.756
131.Lackey (10.1%)Charles14%0.752
132.Northeast (13.9%)Anne Arundel12%0.742
133.Glen BurnieAnne Arundel16%0.726
134.NorthwesternPrince George's53%0.725
135.Brooke Point (14%)Stafford10%0.700
136.Oakland Mills (15.9%)Howard18%0.690
137.Laurel*Prince George's25%0.667
138.High PointPrince George's49%0.637
139.Frederick DouglassPrince George's16%0.628
140.Calvert (18.2%)Calvert13%0.581
141.Parkdale*Prince George's53%0.568
142.Booker T. Washington CharterD.C.86%0.565
143.North Stafford (10.4%)Stafford6%0.564
144.FlowersPrince George's72%0.559
145.North County (9.4%)Anne Arundel17%0.550
146.Central*Prince George's42%0.518
147.Warren CountyWarren13%0.481
148.Suitland*Prince George's34%0.446
149.Culpeper CountyCulpeper18%0.425
150.Key (11.4%)Carroll13%0.407
151.North Carroll (11%)Carroll5%0.407
152.Oxon HillPrince George's23%0.361
153.Friendship-Edison WoodsonD.C.70%0.356
154.PotomacPrince George's47%0.314
155.FriendlyPrince George's18%0.296
156.CoolidgeD.C.56%0.264
157.RooseveltD.C.55%0.255
158.BladensburgPrince George's41%0.232
159.Gwynn ParkPrince George's12%0.204
160.AnacostiaD.C.69%0.203
161.EasternD.C.64%0.203
162.James Wood (8.6%)Frederick, Va.12%0.192
163.SherandoFrederick, Va.10%0.185
164.SurrattsvillePrince George's15%0.183
165.Millbrook (8.6%)Frederick, Va.15%0.176
166.LargoPrince George's20%0.174
167.BallouD.C.90%0.162
168.SpingarnD.C.79%0.146
169.DunbarD.C.54%0.144
170.CrosslandPrince George's34%0.102
171.DuValPrince George's32%0.096
172.Fairmont HeightsPrince George's37%0.090
173.ForestvillePrince George's42%0.043
174.H.D. WoodsonD.C.60%0.000

*Includes IB tests.
**Includes community college or other types of college-level courses.

*Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, with a rating of 7.359, was not ranked because it is a magnet school with a selective admissions policy and an average SAT score, 1468, higher than the highest average for any regular enrollment school in the country. The index is designed to show which schools are challenging average students and does not work well with schools like Jefferson that have few or no average students.

*Dominion and Heritage in Loudoun County, Freedom in Prince William County, Mountain View in Stafford County, Riverbend in Spotsylvania County, Northwood in Montgomery County, Tuscarora in Frederick County, North Point in Charles County, Huntingtown in Calvert County, Winters Mill in Carroll County and Cesar Chavez and SEED charter schools in the District were not included because they are new schools and did not have full senior classes graduating this year.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company