50 worst-scoring high schools in Utah

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 8:37 a.m. MDT

Here is a look at the lowest-scoring high schools in Utah, according to the state's criterion-referenced tests, or CRT. The CRT tests gauge student performance and shows which schools are performing better than others in scores. The rankings are based on the percentages of students who have passed the 2011 CRT tests proficiently. The Deseret News averaged language arts, math and science scores together weighed by total students tested in each category to get an overall percentage. Only schools with 150 students or more are included in the list. Click here to see the best-scoring high schools in Utah. The data for this list can be found on the Utah State Office of Education website. The following schools have been excluded because of inconclusive data or other circumstances: Itineris Early College High Jordan Valley School Success School
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Syracuse, UT

For Syracuse High, they show a photo of shirtless teenagers, whereas most schools have a photo of the building? That seems fair.

Riverton, UT

These results, especially the math results, do not give the impression that Utah schools are doing well enough.

logan, UT

All 3 Ogden school district high schools are in the top ten of the worst-performing schools. I can't wait to see how their new lawyer/superintendent will get them to be the top-performing schools on the Wasatch front by next year, as he promised.

Orem, UT

So my kid's school was on neither list. Should I feel sad or relieved? Or maybe both at the same time? Maybe the Deseret News could publish the ENTIRE LIST so we as parents can make determinations on how to best help our schools and kids.

How many high schools are there in Utah anyway? Is the full list just too overwhelming to post???

Ogden, UT

Math scores are certainly pulling these schools down in their rankings. It is important to note, however, that, as far as I can tell from the USOE website, only Algebra I in 10th grade counts toward these statistics. In most of these schools, very few students are still taking that class--most likely special ed, ell, or other students who struggle mightily with math.

I wouldn't say that these math scores are highly representative of the overall achievement of a school's entire student body. Care is needed in making assumptions based on CRTs.

Someone else would have to comment on the science scores, but I do know that only about 45 multiple choice questions on the language test will determine the proficiency of your child. 45. Do you parents really think that such a small and narrow sampling of your child's skills shows what he or she can do? I don't. Nor does the test tell me anything new about one of my students.

The way testing has been used is wrong on so many levels. I'll have to rant about that at another time.

Farmington, UT

These CRTs are not meant to be applied too much at the individual level. The CRTs are about aggregating for each grade within each school. They seem to be pretty reliable at the school level--at least in terms that there aren't many surprises in these lists.

Highland, UT

Not a good day to be the Granite School District.

Herriman, UT

When you are expected to,test all students, even those who rarely attend, and you are judged as an educator by those nonattending student's scores, you are in a no win situation. When student's are required to pass the CRT in order to pass the class then scores will improve, as will attendance rates.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

The following trends seem to hold true:

The most demographically diverse schools struggle.

The schools in the most impoverished areas struggle.

Charter schools were on the top and bottom of the list and everywhere in between. Maybe they aren't the panacea people think.

Math scores seem low but there seems to be some controversy about which students take or don't take the test so maybe it doesn't look as bad as the scores indicate.

It seems like the legislature starving education seems to be getting desired results. Lower test scores and now they can come to rescue with vouchers, charters etc.

Reasonable Emotion
Springville, UT

The way these scores are presented is quite misleading, at least for math. If Algebra and Geometry are the last levels tested, and students in higher level math are exempt from the test, then only a small percentage of the students are actually getting a score. It would be nice for DesNews to clarify what percentage of the students did not test at all so that people don't get the wrong impression, say that only 20% of the student body is proficient, when maybe 70% of the students (I don't really know what percent it would be) didn't even take the math CRT this year.

Chris from Rose Park

I want to point out and interesting fact that I have seen first hand.

I graduated West High in 2006. In this list, West is listed as the 17th worst school. I attended West for six years (7-12th grade: There is a program that puts around 170 7-8th grade students at West). While I attended West, Newsweek always ranked West at or near the best school in Utah (this year it is ranked 9th). I believe my junior year it was also ranked in the top 200 in the country. Newsweek grades are based on scores for AP/IB tests. At the same time the school had really bad overall CRT scores.

I think both ranking systems are valid. For West's AP/IB kids, we were one of the best in state. 12th grade was more rigorous than my freshman year of college. It was the norm to take 6 AP/IB classes both junior and senior years. For a lot of kids, not in the program, the scores for standardized tests were really bad. I think we need more discussion on how to help everyone take advantage of the good programs their schools offer.

Salt Lake, UT

If you look at the diversity of the schools with the highest scores not a single one of them has higher than 25% of the students being anything other than white while almost all the schools on the 50 lowest performing have more than 50% diversity. In addition to this, most- if not all- of the schools on the top performing are also not title one schools meaning that they have a lower percentage of students on free and reduced lunch. They are in higher income areas while a majority of those on the lower performing list are title one schools in fairly low income areas. So, I guess if we want everyone to pass we should just kick out all the low income, minority kids. Oh wait, that would probably be in direct opposition to No Child Left Behind, wouldn't it?

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