Does your teenager complain about classes and homework at Palm Desert High School?
He or she might be justified in griping.
According to annual rankings created by the Washington Post, PDHS is among the most challenging public high schools in the country. In California, it ranks No. 139, after high schools in Los Angeles and Orange counties, among other communities.
Palm Desert HS moved up one spot from last year, when it ranked No. 140 in California, according to data provided by the news organization.
The school's four year graduation rate of 94 percent, and average SAT score of 1,544 helped with its ranking.
Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews has rated public high schools around the country for the past 15 years based on something called the “Challenge Index,” according to officials. The index takes the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at the school that year and divides it by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June.
“With a few exceptions, public schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.000, meaning they had as many tests in 2012 as they had graduates, were put on the national list at washingtonpost.com/highschoolchallenge,” Mathews explains in a Washington Post story. Before posting the list, he also filters out magnet or charter high schools that have few average-performing students.
This year, only 9 percent of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools were included on the list, according to Mathews.