Two Rockford Schools Make National 'Most Challenging' List

May 23, 2017

Two Rockford public high schools made the national Washington Post Most Challenging High Schools list this year.

Credit Rockford Public Schools

Auburn High School ranked 13th in Illinois, and Guilford High School was 53rd in the state -- and both made the top 2,000 in the country.

The rankings are determined by counting the Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, then dividing that number by the number of high school seniors who graduate.

"It gives people confidence that our schools are preparing kids for college and beyond, and that people could look at some of those rankings as a deciding factor to move to our community,” said Matt Vosberg, deputy superintendent for Rockford public schools. 

Rockford school officials said Auburn High School administered 952 AP exams this year, while Guilford High School administered 697. Neither school offers International Baccalaureate or AICE tests.

The Washington Post reports that only 12 percent of all U.S. high schools made the list. That includes about eight percent of all Illinois high schools. Sixty-five Illinois high schools made the list, including seven private schools and 58 public schools.

Of the more than 830 high schools in the state, 668 are public high schools, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. There also are more than 170 private schools with high school-aged students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Schools in Cook, Lake, Whiteside, McHenry, Kane, Kendall, Will and DuPage counties also made the list.

“We have plans in place where AP enrollment is increasing at all four high schools,” Vosberg said, “and we do expect eventually -- hopefully next year -- that more than these two schools would be on that list. I think that we can have three and ultimately all four high schools on the list in a short period of time.”