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MHS Rises 3 Levels in US News & World Report’s School Rankings

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted May 2, 2024


Montgomery High School is one of 42 New Jersey schools to make U.S. News & World Report’s list of the top 5% in the country. Once again, “selective” public schools earned the top spots in the U.S. News rankings. High Technology High School in Lincroft, ranked as both the top high school in New Jersey and the top STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) in the country. Although the school is public and free, students throughout all of Monmouth County must apply to attend the specialized, high competitive public schools. New Jersey’s top 10 high schools in the U.S. News ranking are all magnet and specialized high school academies that only admit the highest-achieving students.


Montgomery High School in Skillman


The U.S. News rankings beg the question — Is it fair to compare a selective school to a general admission school? Private, competitive schools are ranked separately from public schools. If U.S. News were to rank general admission public schools separately from exclusive public academies and magnet school, it would compare apples to apples. Montgomery High School performs in the top 10 general public schools in New Jersey.


U.S. News & World Report’s Top 12 General Admission High Schools in N.J.

In parenthesis is the overall NJ ranking, which includes selective admission schools.


  • 1. Glen Ridge (#11)

  • 2. Hunterdon Central Regional (#14)

  • 3. West Windsor-Plainsboro South (#15)

  • 4. West Windsor-Plainsboro North (#17)

  • 5. Millburn (#19)

  • 6. Livingston (#20)

  • 7. Chatham (#21)

  • 8. Ridge (#25)

  • 9. Summit Senior HS (#29)

  • 10. Montgomery (#30)

  • 11. Tenafly (#31)

  • 12. Princeton (#33)


Questionable Metrics

U.S. News reports that 59.7 out of each 100 MHS graduates are what they call “college ready.” “This is a weighted average based 25% on the AP or IB (International Baccalaureate) participation rate and 75% on the quality-adjusted AP. Both exams are used when applicable. The maximum value is 100,” according to usnews.com.


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What Does This Mean?

AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Many U.S. colleges grant credit and/or advanced placement (that means they let you skip the equivalent course once you get to college) for scores of 3 and above. So proportion of 12th graders who took and earned a qualifying score on at least one AP or IB exam determines whether a student is college ready in the U.S. report. Based on this criteria, it appears to render 40.3 percent of Montgomery High School students to be NOT college ready. It may penalize students for attempting to take the AP exam. The AP participation rate at Montgomery High School is high, at 64%.


Other MHS Data

U.S. News also reported that the total minority enrollment at MHS is 66%, and 4% of students are economically disadvantaged. U.S. News says in its report that, “A great high school educates all of its students from different social and economic backgrounds, exposing them to challenging coursework on the path to graduation.” Does comparing selective schools to general admission schools accomplish this?

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