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Oconomowoc High School has been named to the Washington Post’s list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools.

According to the Washington Post, the index score is the number of college-level tests (AP, IB or AICE) given at a school in the previous calendar year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates.

Also taken into consideration are the percentage of students who qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program, and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career. Oconomowoc High School ranked 15th among a group of 35 Wisconsin high schools, with an index score of 2.254.

Rigor

"Increasing academic rigor for all students continues to have the positive impact we were aiming for, and we fully expect that ranking to be even higher next year as we continue to see more and more students accessing challenging, college-level coursework at the Oconomowoc High School,” said Oconomowoc Area School District Superintendent Roger Rindo.

Last year, 12 Advanced Placement (AP) classes were offered at OHS. OHS has significantly increased the number of AP students and AP exams taken in the past several years. In the 2015-16 school year, 540 students took an AP class, representing a 29 percent increase over the previous school year.

In addition, OHS students took a total of 783 AP exams, a 39 percent increase over the previous school year. AP students continue to perform well on exams, with 45 OHS students earning AP Scholar status in 2016, with a mean score of 3.46. AP Scholar status is granted to a student who receives scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.

Steady increase

Last year, 15 international baccalaureate (IB) classes were offered at OHS. OHS has steadily increased the number of IB exams taken since IB was made available in 2006. OHS students took 214 IB exams in the 2015-16 school year. Three students earned IB diplomas, and five IB career certificates were awarded.

“Our goal is to have all of our students challenge themselves at a high level. Parents and students are seeing the benefits,” OHS Principal Joseph Moylan said.

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