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Lists can be arbitrary and easily disputed. Witness the national high school baseball rankings that placed state Super 8 champions North lower than Leominster, winner of the “rest of Division 1” tournament.

With that in mind, I had a look at Newsweek’s list ofTop 500 High Schools. Among the 23 Massachusetts schools on the list (led by #19 Lexington), North checked in at #263.

Newsweek tinkered with their methodology, which takes into account standardized test scores along with “college readiness,” so it’s hard to say how this compares with performance in any past rankings. In fact, the methodology is a bit dense, so any “For Dummies” recaps from smart folks is welcome in comments. It’s also hard to say where South ranks, as it did not get listed in the top 500. Curious (No Brookline or Wellesley, either, in case you like to engage in cross-border bragging battles).

Also of note: the magazine marked schools that it deemed to be closing the “achievement gap” – in which schools were judged on how low-income students performed within the study criteria. It even published a separate list based on those criteria, where North placed at 366.

So, congratulations to Newton, and to North, for making this new list. All such studies have their flaws and their prestige, and I’m interested to see opinions on both.

(Disclosure: I have a son currently enrolled at North)

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