SPARTA, NJ – Sparta High School has been honored by several publications in the past few weeks.  The ranking on the New Jersey Monthly magazine's  Top 100 High Schools increased  from 83 in 2012 up to 34 in 2014.  Inside New Jersey magazine has ranked Sparta High School in the top 100 New Jersey high schools, placing it in the top 18 percent of public high school.  Sparta has also received a national ranking of the country’s Most Challenging High Schools by the Washington Post.  

In his introduction of the recent accolades, Superintendent Dennis Tobin said they should be viewed in the proper perspective.  Further he said, “These rankings are a credit to our students and staff and the entire community.”

Each of the publications use a different set of criteria to evaluate the schools.   According to the New Jersey Department of Education there are 443 public seconday schools in the state.

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New Jersey Monthly magazine's ranking is based on:

  • Student/Faculty Ratio - 10,
  • Number of AP classes offered - 17,
  • Percentage of students taking at least one AP test -  31.9,
  • Percentage of students scoring 1550 or Higher on the SAT - 53.1,
  • Percentage scoring Advanced Proficient on the HSPA 11th Grade state test - 32,
  • Percentage of AP tests resulting in score of 3 or higher - 86.9,
  • Adjusted Graduation Rate - 97%,
  • Percentage of graduates enrolled in college 16 months after high school – 87 %.

Inside New Jersey used the High School Proficiency Assessment, administered to all high school students in grade 11 and the average total SAT score. The Star Ledger publication included student participation in arts programs to determine their ranking.  New Jersey has become the only state to track arts education beginning this year.  Inside New Jersey used a formula to create a total composite score based on:

  • HSPA composite score - 234,
  • Total Arts participation - 77%,
  • SAT Total of Math, Reading and Writing – 1582.

At the national level, the Washington Post recognized Sparta High School as one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools.  According to the Washington Post, their ranking was based on the single ratio of “how many students sat for in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certification of Education tests divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year.”  Of the three categories of challenging courses of study, Sparta High School only offers AP.  There are no IB or AICE courses.

Sparta was ranked 74 of the 122 New Jersey schools included in the Washington Post’s list. The overall national ranking was 1703. There were a total of 2149 schools on their list, including 1900 public high schools.  According to the Washington Post nine percent of the approximately 22,000 public high schools in the United States qualified to be recognized on this list of most challenging schools. 

The 2014 graduating class is the first class of students to have had all four years of their high school experience in the renovated building. There were 329 students in the class of 2014.  

This publicity comes as Sparta has adopted a tuition policy that will allow students from outside of Sparta to apply to attend Sparta's public schools.  The administrators are developing the application process and assessing the number of students that could be accepted.  The tuition rates have been established by the state department of education and would be the responsibility of the family.