Since it’s summer and the education news is light, Jay Mathews resurrects his “challenge” index for his weekly Class Struggle column. Ostensibly he wants to update the list published in Newsweek a couple of months ago but most of the space is taken up with an FAQ promoting his system.

My question has always been how can you possibly judge a high school on such a narrow criteria? He doesn’t really answer that question, of course, so we’ll move on to question number 2: If you’re going to base your assessment on the AP and IB tests, why don’t you factor in the scores students earn on those tests?

I do not count passing rates because I found that most American high schools keep their passing rates artificially high by allowing only A students to take the courses. In some cases, they open the courses to all but wrongly encourage only the best students to take the tests.

Which is crap, of course. A few weeks back I remember reading a story about whether or not teachers should give students credit for effort in computing their grades. Mathew’s assessment is nothing but credit for effort.