Torrey Pines High School ranked 109th in the nation in the Washington Post’s first list of “America’s Best High Schools.” This improves on the previous year’s ranking of 125th in a similar annual list published in Newsweek.
“This is an outstanding result for Torrey Pines High School,” said school principal Brett Killeen. “It is especially impressive when you take into account that many of the schools ranked above us on the list are charter or magnet schools.”
Education reporter Jay Matthews uses the “Challenge Index” to measure how effectively a school prepares its students for college. The Challenge Index is determined by dividing the number of Advanced Placement (AP) or other college-level tests taken each year at a school by its number of graduating seniors. This results in a score which is compared to other schools across the nation and represents the degree to which students at any given institution select rigorous courses.
According to the Matthews, “AP (tests) are important because they give average students a chance to experience the trauma of heavy college reading lists and long, analytical college examinations.” His research shows that even students who did not achieve a passing score on an AP test did significantly better in college than similar students who did not take AP courses.
Killeen does not put too much emphasis on the ranking, however, he appreciates the validation and positive recognition. He feels the school’s national ranking will continue to rise in the future. “We should improve slightly next year because our AP data for 2011 is even better.”
Other San Dieguito Union High School District school rankings included: Canyon Crest Academy at 192, La Costa Canyon at 401, and San Dieguito High School Academy at 600.
The complete list can be viewed at