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Dublin High School US News & World Report Ranking Based on Bad Data

May 9, 2012

The US News & World Report Best High School rankings caused a stir when released yesterday when it was determined that bad data from U.S. Department of Education databases caused schools including Dublin High School in Dublin, California and Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nevada to be ranked high on the list.

In the case of Dublin High School (ranked #12), US News & World Report used an enrollment of 493 students (off by more than 1,000) and for Green Valley High School (ranked #13) an enrollment of 477 students (off by more than 2,300). According to a Nevada reporter spoke with there may be other schools in Nevada and California where the data is incorrect. also spoke with US News & World Report Director of Data Research Bob Morse who stated it is not possible for the US News & World Report to verify the data for 22,000 schools (the data used is pulled from U.S. Department of Education databases and other sources, according to the US News & World Report website). According to Mr. Morse the school rankings were determined solely based on those data sources, the school districts were not involved in the process, and no sanity check was performed on the data before publishing. Mr. Morse didn’t provide a timeline for addressing the data integrity issues.

A comprehensive and accurate set of Dublin High School academic rankings (including API, SAT, ACT, AP, UC acceptance rates and college admissions information) is available here.

Despite the controversy, Dublin High School has had many reasons to celebrate recently:

  • Dublin High School’s API rose to 879 last fall (read more…)
  • Dublin High School placed the Dublin Unified School District on the CollegeBoard’s AP Honor Roll for achievement in expanding access to AP courses while maintaining or improving performance on AP exams (read more…)
  • Dublin High School’s Irish Guard Band performed in Carnegie Hall earlier this year (read more…)
  • Dublin High School’s Engineering Academy Open House starring MythBusters attracted over 1,000 Dublin residents to a sold out display of science, technology, engineering and math programming earlier this year (read more…)
  • Dublin High School’s Drama Program won first place recognition at the Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival earlier this year (read more…)
  • Dublin High School Athletics has had an outstanding year with multiple teams reaching the playoffs, coach Mark Wainwright winning the 2012 NCS Honor Coach Award (read more…) and the Dublin High Cheerleading Team winning first place at Nationals this winter in Las Vegas.
  • 98.7% of Class of 2011 Dublin High School graduates reported plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college (read more…) and a numerous Dublin High School graduates have written for the Life in College Series (read more…)

The following statement was issued by Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hanke earlier today:

“When the district received word that Dublin High School was listed among the nation’s top performing high schools, according to U.S. News and World Report’s high school rankings, we were delighted, but not surprised because we know that our teachers, administrators and students achieve remarkable academic results.

“Upon closer examination of the data used by the magazine, it was clear to us that they used inaccurate student enrollment information.  The district migrated to a new student data reporting system in fall 2010 and due to an error in the migration, enrollment data for Dublin High School was incorrectly reported. This inaccuracy was reported to the California Department of Education’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) office in December 2010. The district worked over the next several months with state department of education agencies to correct the data, and we were notified that the inaccurate data had been corrected.  Unfortunately, it appears the correction was not shared with the various state systems used to disseminate data and statistics statewide. The magazine’s formulas were applied to data still inaccurate on the California Department of Education’s data reporting system, which in turn was inaccurately reflected on federal student information and statistics databases.

“In this District, we value honesty and integrity, so we took action immediately to notify the both the magazine and the public.  In Dublin, we model what we teach, and we teach the importance of truth.

“We do want to use this opportunity to draw attention to the great work that is being done at Dublin High School and throughout the entire district.  Our high school may not be ranked 12 according to a magazine, but the manner in which they are handling this disappointment demonstrates that they are number one when it comes to maturity, integrity and character.  We are proud of Dublin High School, and we are proud of our great kids.”

– Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hanke

One Comment
  1. Teri Price permalink
    May 9, 2012 10:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing the facts. It is good to know our school district is acutely aware of the situation and I appreciate hearing directly from the source. Nice to see honesty and integrity put into action so swiftly.

Comments are closed.