SOURCE: BASIS Educational Group

May 21, 2012 16:44 ET

BASIS Schools Dominate 2 Separate Rankings of America's Best High Schools

BASIS Tucson and BASIS Scottsdale Rank in Washington Post and Newsweek Top 5

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - May 21, 2012) - In its second annual ranking of America's high schools, The Washington Post named BASIS Tucson the #1 most challenging high school in the country. Eligible for the ranking for the first time this year, BASIS Scottsdale debuted at #5 on the list.

The very next day Newsweek announced its list of America's Best High Schools. Again, BASIS Scottsdale and BASIS Tucson both earned positions in the top 5, with BASIS Scottsdale ranking #3 in its Newsweek debut and BASIS Tucson ranking #5.

"The students at BASIS Tucson and BASIS Scottsdale have achieved a phenomenal feat," says Michael Block, Co-CEO of BASIS Educational Group. "We have long celebrated the accomplishments of our flagship campus in Tucson and I am thrilled that BASIS Scottsdale's debut on both rankings was so successful. We will continue our fierce devotion to raise the bar for American students and, as we expand, we look forward to having even more BASIS schools achieve top national rankings."

BASIS currently operates six schools in Arizona (BASIS Tucson - 1998, BASIS Scottsdale - 2003, BASIS Oro Valley - 2010, BASIS Chandler - 2011, BASIS Flagstaff - 2011, and BASIS Peoria - 2011) and plans to open two additional Arizona schools in 2012 (BASIS Phoenix and BASIS Tucson North). BASIS will also embark on its first venture outside of Arizona when it opens a campus in the nation's capital in 2012 (BASIS DC).

The Washington Post and Newsweek rankings rely on different methodology to determine which high schools belong at the top of the list. The Washington Post's ranking is based on the "Challenge Index" which measures the number of college-level tests (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education) given at a school in 2011 divided by the number of graduates that year.

Unlike the national high school ranking put out by Newsweek, the Challenge Index does not take into account students' performance on the college-level tests. Jay Mathews explains: "I decided not to count passing rates in this way because I found that most high schools kept those rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses... The Challenge Index is designed to identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests."

BASIS Tucson's Challenge Index score was 19.522 while BASIS Scottsdale's index score was 15.160. "I think 1.000 is a modest standard," says Mathews. "A school can reach that level if only half of its students take one AP, IB or AICE test in their junior year and one in their senior year. But this year only 9 percent of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools managed to reach that standard and be placed on our list."

The Newsweek ranking relies on a methodology that is "designed to highlight public schools that excel at fostering a positive and effective learning environment, as well as preparing students for college."

The methodology for calculating each school's 2012 Newsweek score was comprised of six components based on statistics from the 2010-2011 school year: graduation rate (25 percent), college matriculation rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and AP courses offered per student (5 percent).

Both BASIS Scottsdale and BASIS Tucson boasted 100 percent graduation rates and college matriculation rates. BASIS Scottsdale averaged 3.1 AP tests per student with an average score of 4.1 out of a possible 5 points, while BASIS Tucson averaged 2.6 exams per student with an average score of 3.7.

"The fact that two BASIS campuses have been ranked among the nation's top 5 high schools by two separate rankings that rely on very different methodology emphasizes the quality of the BASIS academic program and our educational community," says Block. "BASIS Scottsdale and BASIS Tucson are not only challenging their students to reach higher levels of achievement, they are succeeding."

"I am enormously proud of our entire BASIS Tucson community," says Julia Toews, BASIS Tucson Head of School. " The fact that an open-enrollment school in Tucson, Arizona can achieve at this level just demonstrates the great potential of all students," says Toews. "This is the product of very hard work and faith in the potential of young minds."

John Hillis, BASIS Scottsdale Head of School agrees, "The BASIS curriculum is challenging, but our students, families, teachers, and staff have really come together to create an incredible learning community. They have proven that they can accomplish what many think is impossible. I am thrilled with their success and the school thoroughly deserves to be ranked this highly."

The BASIS model is founded on the philosophy that average students can achieve at extraordinary levels when they are challenged. All BASIS students begin taking AP courses and tests in their Freshman year, though many elect to take AP-level courses as early as 8th grade. By the time they graduate, all BASIS students will have completed a minimum of 8 AP courses and 6 AP exams; however many graduates choose to test on as many as 9 or 10 AP exams.

Contact the Head of School for an interview or campus visit.

For more information about The Washington Post's ranking, please visit

For more information about the Newsweek ranking, please visit

For more information about BASIS Schools, please visit

BASIS Educational Group is an Education Management Organization for BASIS School, Inc. and BDC, Inc.

BASIS School, Inc. is a 501(C)3 non-profit educational organization which holds charters for BASIS Chandler (2011), BASIS Flagstaff (2011), BASIS Oro Valley (2010), BASIS Peoria (2011), BASIS Phoenix (2012), BASIS Scottsdale, (2003) BASIS Tucson (1998), and BASIS Tucson North (2012). BASIS Tucson and BASIS Scottsdale were featured in the 2009 documentary "2 Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution."

BDC, Inc. is a 501(C)3 non-profit educational organization which holds a charter for BASIS DC (2012).

© 2012 BASIS Educational Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

BASIS™ is a trademark or registered trademark of BASIS School, Inc. (Arizona) and BASIS Educational Group, Inc. (outside Arizona).

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