The public high school ranking published annually by the Washington Post has been released, placing Evanston Township High School (ETHS) in the top 2-3% in the list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.” For 2015, ETHS holds its rank at 17 in the state, maintaining its distinction as a top 20 school in Illinois among a number of schools that selectively enroll students.

ETHS improved its spot on the national ranking, moving up to 585 out of the 22,000 U.S. public and private schools on the list.

The Washington Post uses a “Challenge Index” formula that includes the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. Schools are then ranked by their tests-to-graduates ratio.

“Our whole community can be so proud about how highly ranked our high school is when compared to the best public, private and highly selective schools nationwide,” said ETHS District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “ETHS has a long tradition of excellence, and I feel especially proud of today’s students who, with the support of our fine staff, are taking the most challenging Advanced Placement classes in ETHS history and performing at the highest levels ever on the ACT national college admissions exam.”

The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews, who started the ranking in 1998, notes that limited access to AP, IB, and AICE courses is one reason that 89 percent of U.S. public schools do not even make the Post’s list. Despite evidence that students do better in college when given the opportunity to take the most challenging courses, many U.S. schools still have rules that inhibit or prevent enrollment in such courses.

The ETHS ranking on the Washington Post’s “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” list can be viewed online: