Kansas City, April 26, 2017: International Baccalaureate (IB) high school Lincoln College Preparatory Academy is measurably one of the best educational institutions of its type in the Kansas City region, Missouri and the nation.
U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2017 national rankings of about 20,000 high schools. Lincoln Prep ranked significantly lower than it did in the magazine’s 2016 list because the magazine did not include any IB exam results in its analysis.
The failure to factor-in IB exam results is a critical and underreported change in the way schools were evaluated. The magazine was not transparent about this change and readers are likely to have an inaccurate perception of Lincoln and other IB schools as a result.
Kansas City Public Schools categorically rejects this year’s results and strongly protests the methodology used by the magazine for these rankings. KCPS wants to make sure parents and other community members are aware that the rankings are incomplete, deceptive and do not reflect the reality at Lincoln Prep or any other IB school.
“We are steadfastly defending Lincoln Prep’s standing as a world-class educational institution and quite simply the best possible high school option in Missouri,” Superintendent Mark Bedell said. “I send my own children to Lincoln because I know without a doubt that it prepares students to succeed in the 21st century global economy.”
The IB program is widely considered to be the most rigorous and elite academic system of its type in the world for high schools. Schools spend several years developing their curriculum, facilities and staff in order to qualify for IB designation. Students are expected to complete an extremely challenging course load, 150 hours of community service and independent study projects before earning the prestigious IB diploma.
In previous years, the magazine included both Advanced Placement (AP) and IB exam results in its analysis of high schools. Lincoln Prep was ranked as the best high school in Missouri and in the top 100 nationally in 2016.
IB results were not used for this year’s rankings because the International Baccalaureate Organization did not provide that data, according to a one-paragraph explanation buried on the magazine’s website. Instead, the final round of vetting was based solely on AP exam results, which means that all IB schools were automatically downgraded, including Lincoln Prep and North Kansas City High School in Missouri and Sumner Academy in Kansas.
“These rankings are bad for education because they set a lower standard for achievement,” Dr. Bedell said. “The magazine has failed to help readers understand which schools are best at preparing students for college and beyond.”
KCPS achievement data experts created a new list with the magazine’s own method but including Lincoln Prep’s IB exam results for 2014-2015, the academic year used for the current rankings. The results of this new analysis demonstrate that Lincoln Prep is quantifiably among the best high schools in the state. KCPS will provide this data upon request.
In the revised rankings, Lincoln Prep earned a College Readiness Index that would have placed it firmly in Missouri’s top 10 schools on the magazine’s 2017 list. In addition, Lincoln Prep’s graduation rate (99 percent) and English language arts proficiency rate (95 percent) are the best in the state.
In 2016, Lincoln Prep was the only high school in Missouri to earn a Blue Ribbon designation, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to recognize the best schools in the nation. Lincoln Prep’s senior classes regularly receive millions of dollars in scholarships and grants, and the school’s alumni have advanced to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world.
It is not the magazine’s fault that the IB exam data was not reported. However, KCPS contends that the magazine was obliged to be up-front with readers about this change and explain that this year’s rankings should not be compared with lists from previous years, as the 2017 data is skewed in favor of AP schools versus IB schools.
“People need to know that these rankings are based on completely different standards,” Dr. Bedell said. “It’s like a basketball league making a major change to the rules of the game between seasons but not telling all the teams or even the fans. It’s ridiculous.”
Students, staff and parents at Lincoln Prep will be promoting their school’s ongoing excellence with a “#StillNumber1” campaign on Twitter and other social media platforms. Learn more about the outstanding educational opportunities available at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy by visiting www.kcpublicschools.org/Lincoln.