Both Davis High School and Da Vinci Charter Academy were listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 list of Best High Schools, which surveyed some 21,000 campuses around the country.
In order to participate, a high school needs to have an administrator complete the magazine’s rather time-consuming application form, and Davis High has not always done so in past years. But this year, Davis High did participate, and earned a Gold rating plus a listing as No. 365 nationwide, and No. 69 in California.
Da Vinci earned a Bronze rating.
The U.S. News & World Report listing is not always an apples-to-apples comparison. Their list mixes large comprehensive high schools — which enroll most high school students living in their attendance area, in some cases 3,000-plus students — with much smaller charter schools that have a more specific college prep focus, and in some cases a selective admissions policy, with under 500 students.
The magazine’s survey also places a high value on the percentage of students at a high school who are participating in Advanced Placement classes. As a result, Davis High, which offers numerous AP classes, ranked higher than Da Vinci, which focuses on the newer project-based learning approach.
But when Da Vinci and Davis High are compared on the California Department of Education’s Academic Performance Index, which is based largely on test scores in English language arts and math, the two schools score in pretty much the same ballpark, with Davis High posting an 868, and Da Vinci an 837.