APS News Release

Arlington High Schools Rank in Top 2 Percent of Schools in the Nation in Annual Challenge Index

Four Arlington Public Schools (APS) high schools ranked among the top 2 percent of schools in the nation in the Jay Mathews Challenge Index, a nationwide ranking of U.S. high schools published earlier this week.

Challenge Index scores are a ratio of the number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests given at a school each year compared with the number of seniors who graduated that year. Only 2,500 (9 percent) of the 22,000 high schools nationwide earned a score of 1.000 or higher. Four APS high schools ranked in the top 2 percent nationally, earning the following scores:

  • Yorktown – #110 in the nation, #1 in Virginia (with a rating of 6.469)
  • H-B Woodlawn – #127 in the nation, #2 in Virginia (with a rating of 6.265)
  • Washington-Lee* – #145 in the nation, #4 in Virginia (with a rating of 6.011)
  • Wakefield – #437 in the nation, #17 in Virginia (with a rating of 3.887)

Yorktown is the top ranked Virginia school on the 2019 Challenge Index list. Wakefield’s rating represents a significant climb from 563 in the previous Index, published in 2017. H-B Woodlawn and Washington-Lee maintained their strong rankings from the previous Index.

“I am incredibly proud of our students, teachers, staff and families for their hard work, focus and commitment to excellence,” said Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy. “This ranking is just one of many indicators we use to measure our overall academic success, and it speaks to the quality of instruction that begins at the elementary level and extends through graduation.”

Jay Mathews is an education writer and has been a columnist for The Washington Post and Newsweek for nearly 50 years. Since 1998, he has been publishing his Challenge Index which ranks America’s most challenging high schools.

More information about the Challenge Index is available online.

*Per an editorial decision, Washington-Lee is listed as Washington-Liberty High School, which officially goes into effect on July 1, 2019 for the 2019-20 School Year.