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U.S. News and World Report ranks Goffstown High School No. 4

When U.S. News & World Report ranked Goffstown High School as the fourth best high school in New Hampshire, Principal Frank McBride took it as validation of everything that’s been going on there over the past six years.

“What I liked about the U.S. News ranking is that it’s based on hard, concrete performance measurements,” said McBride. “They used state test results, advanced placement results and college preparedness.”

The rankings came out April 22, but it wasn’t until last week that faculty and administrators at Goffstown High got the news through various social networking mediums, either tweeting, texting each other or posting messages on Facebook.

Goffstown was ranked No. 4, behind Lin-Wood Public High School in Lincoln, Profile Senior High School in Bethlehem and White Mountains Regional High School in Whitefield. Bedford High School was ranked behind Goffstown at No. 6, while Hanover High School earned the fifth spot in the ranking.

When the top four schools on the ranking are looked at, Goffstown is by far the largest, with 1,200 students, compared to 434 at White Mountains Regional High, 184 at Profile Senior High and 105 at Lin-Wood Public High School, which took the top spot in the ranking.

In all, U.S. News looked at 20 public high schools in New Hampshire, but only gave numerical rankings to the first 12.

Nationally, Goffstown ranks in the top 6 percent of public high schools, according to the figures released by U.S. News. Out of 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia, Goffstown was ranked at 1,291.

“Over the last five or six years we’ve seen a very, very steady increase in our test scores,” McBride said. “Our SAT scores have had the same trajectory for six years in a row. In all three parts of the SAT, our scores are higher than the state average.”

McBride said that’s a significant accomplishment when one considers that New Hampshire’s average SAT scores are consistently among the best in the nation.

In determining the rankings, U.S. News looked at student-teacher ratios, college readiness and state test scores that measure proficiency in math and reading. The college readiness component took into account Advance Placement or International Baccalaureate “test data as the benchmarks for success, depending on which program was the largest at the school.”

Goffstown does not have an International Baccalaureate program, but it does have an Advanced Placement program.

“We have an extensive AP program that is just phenomenal,” said McBride. “And I think that speaks to what we’re doing for our kids.”

Both AP and IB are described as curriculums offering college-level courses to high school students. Based on U.S. News figures, 35 percent of the students at Goffstown High took AP tests, while 25 percent passed those tests. By comparison, 28 percent of the students at Bedford High took the AP tests, while 23 percent passed. U.S. News said Goffstown performed better than the state average in the college readiness category. Bedford offers both the AP and IB curriculums to its students.

In the area of math and reading proficiencies, Goffstown recorded a 52 percent proficiency in math and an 87 percent proficiency in reading, both above the state averages. Again, by comparison, Bedford recorded a 58 percent proficiency in math and an 88 percent proficiency in reading.

Goffstown’s student-teacher ratio was 13 to 1, while Bedford’s was 14 to 1.

All the data analyzed in the U.S. News ranking came from the 2010-11 academic year.

Jennifer Beauchemin, an English teacher at the high school, said the faculty at the high school viewed the U.S. News ranking as confirming what they already knew.

“We know we do a great job here,” she said. “But it is nice to see it publically recognized.”

McBride said the school’s success is the result of a collaborative effort. “There are a lot of great people responsible for this – students, parents, teachers,” McBride said. “It’s about quality students who work hard with quality teachers.”

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