(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Hoosier high schools offering the highest educational achievement levels for the lowest amount of tax dollars were recognized today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce with the release of the 11th edition of its Indiana's Best Buys report.
The study examined 357 Indiana public high schools with the appropriate available data. Using ISTEP+ pass rates, ISTEP+ Pass+ rates, graduation rates, SAT participation rates and average composite scores, and Advanced Placement (AP) passing scores, the Indiana Chamber developed a total school performance index for each school.
This index, called the school's quality index, was then compared to each school's total revenues per pupil to determine "best buy" schools. From that list, "honor roll" schools were selected based on each school's at-risk student/poverty rate, as measured by participation in the federal free/reduced lunch program.
For 2009, 135 public high schools were designated as a "best buy" for giving taxpayers the most value for their money. Two methods determined this honor. A school was named a best buy if it had a quality index above the state median and revenues below the statewide median of $10,179 per student. The second method was by having a quality index ranking that was 20% higher than the school's revenue ranking.
In addition, from the best buy group, 26 high schools were given the "honor roll" distinction for excelling academically despite having at-risk student demographics above the statewide median. For their exemplary efforts, the top five schools from the best buy and honor roll lists were then selected as "head of the class" members.
The 2009 "head of the class" selections are:
- Adams Central High School in Monroe (Adams County);
- Forest Park Jr.-Sr. High School in Ferdinand (Dubois County);
- North Central High School in Indianapolis (Marion County);
- Northwestern High School in Kokomo (Howard County);
- Plainfield High School (Hendricks County);
- Plymouth High School (Marshall County);
- Signature School in Evansville (Vanderburgh County).
- South Adams Jr.-Sr. High School in Berne (Adams County);
- Triton Jr.-Sr. High School in Bourbon (Marshall County); and
- Warsaw Community High School (Kosciusko County).
Indiana Chamber officials are recognizing the 10 head of the class honorees during an award presentation at each school. Among the selections, there were several familiar faces. Signature School, Indiana's first charter high school, and North Central return from the 2008 group - with Signature making the top list three years running. Meanwhile, Adams Central returned to the list for the second time (2007 marked its first appearance).
"All of the Best Buy schools are getting the utmost out of their taxpayer dollars by, in turn, delivering high-quality education to their students. This balancing act of limited funding while realizing a varied and competitive education is no easy task. Businesses and communities in these areas should be very proud of what their schools are achieving and how their students are being readied for further education paths and a competitive job market," states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.
The SAT and AP test data used in the Best Buys report was provided directly by the Indiana Department of Education; all other data was collected from Indiana Department of Education databases.
This latest edition of Indiana's Best Buys continues to include a broad range of school performance data and an emphasis on high school graduation rates for the calculation of each school's quality index. The AP measures and ISTEP+ Pass+ rates are an attempt to give schools additional recognition for their attention to higher performing students.
To view the report and learn which high schools are among Indiana's Best Buys, visit www.indianachamber.com/bestbuys.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has been the state's largest broad-based business advocacy
organization for over 85 years. The nearly 5,000 member companies employ 800,000 Hoosier workers.