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Evanston Township High School. Credit: Evanston RoundTable

U.S. News and World Report published its newest edition of the Best High Schools list on Tuesday, and Evanston Township High School came in at 955th place out of more than 24,000 high schools nationwide and No. 41 in the state of Illinois for 2022. ETHS received an overall score of 94.65 out of 100.

According to U.S. News, to compile its rankings each year, the site evaluates each high school’s college readiness; math, reading and science proficiency; math, reading and science performance; underserved student performance; college curriculum breadth, and graduation rate.

This year, ETHS scored best in the college curriculum breadth category, ranking No. 707 in the nation and No. 27 in Illinois. U.S. News calculates the scores for that assessment based on the proportion of seniors taking and passing Advanced Placement exams each spring. The high school clocked in its worst ranking in the graduation rate section, tying for No. 8,627 in the country and No. 229 in the state. According to the Illinois School Report Card, ETHS has a current graduation rate of 94%.

U.S. News tweaked its evaluation methods for the Best High Schools list after publishing the 2018 rankings, and ETHS has slightly dropped in the rankings each year since then. ETHS ranked No. 27 in Illinois in 2019, No. 37 in 2020 and No. 41 in 2021. Back in 2016, when the old assessment rules were still in place, ETHS was No. 13 in Illinois and No. 455 nationally.

The new evaluation system launched in 2019 to create more thorough assessments of each high school that drew on more student experience and performance data from third-party sources and equity and inclusion measurements. Previously, U.S. news only used four categories primarily focused on college readiness and student performance to rank every high school.

Compared with its competitor high schools in other Chicago suburbs, ETHS serves a much more racially and socioeconomically diverse student population. According to the U.S. News rankings, 54% of ETHS students identify as underrepresented minorities and 33% of students are low-income. New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, for example, ranked higher than ETHS this year, but 4% of its students are low-income and the total minority enrollment is 22%. Oak Park and River Forest High School, just west of Chicago, is 44% underrepresented minorities and 16% low-income.

“The consistent ranking of ETHS among the top 3% of high schools in the state and in the country is a credit to our dedicated teachers and staff,” ETHS District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said in a Tuesday press release. “Even with the impact of a global pandemic and the challenges to the academic, social and emotional wellbeing of students, ETHS is committed to preparing students for career, college and life. As a comprehensive public high school that welcomes all students in our community, we are incredibly proud.”

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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  1. I do think ETHS is an excellent school and it’s always good to praise dedicated educators. However, even with the new rubric US News and World Report is using, this ranking system is much more subjective and harmful than people realize. It doesn’t measure long term post secondary success in careers and college persistence, for example. It overvalues college readiness over career readiness. It only looks at test results for reading, math, and science (guess social studies and other subject are irrelevant). It doesn’t account for different levels of resources at schools or non standardized tests measures of performance. It doesn’t measure effectively student well being, social development, and 21st Century skill development. And lastly, let’s all agree that it’s ridiculous to provide psuedo-scientific fake precise rankings of schools as it feeds unhealthy, competition that favors highly resourced schools and families. Instead let’s choose to embark on a collaborative quest for excellence and happy, satisfied students and families at ETHS. If ETHS wants to walk it’s equity talk, it should ask US News and World Report not to be included in this faux academically rigorous ranking process.