Profile of 2012 Top 50 Cathlolic High School Honor Roll
The national Catholic High School Honor Roll recognizes schools that are large and small, new and established, highly selective and openly-selective in their admissions practices and with both high and low tuition rates. The common traits are academic excellence, outstanding civic education, and strong Catholic identity.
The complex algorithm used to evaluate the schools accounts for differences in school characteristics and student demographics that could impact scores. Because this information was collected, we are able to track whether the Top 50 schools are representative of all applicant schools, or if particular traits correlate with selection for the Top 50.
We asked each school to report pre-discounted tuition rates. Figure 1 shows that highest-tuition schools were significantly overrepresented in the Top 50, but overall there is much balance. The schools with lower tuition rates were very competitive for the Honor Roll.
We asked the schools if they have an open enrollment policy, highly selective admissions, or something in between. Figure 2 shows that there is virtually no difference for those schools which have open enrollment and only small differences for those with selective admissions policies.
Figure 3 shows that there is no substantial advantage for single-sex or co-educational high schools.
In 2007, 85.1 percent of students in the applicant schools were Catholic. Remarkably, that figure remains identical in 2012 despite a somewhat different mix of applicant schools. Figure 4 shows that there is only a slight difference in the Catholic student enrollment between Top 50 schools and all participating schools.
When comparing ages of the schools, we find significant differences. The oldest, most established Catholic high schools (those that existed prior to 1900) are somewhat overrepresented in the 2012 Honor Roll, and the newest high schools (founded since 1989) are greatly overrepresented. Other participant schools are underrepresented. Whatever this might indicate, it is heartening to see that many long-established schools have weathered the challenges to Catholic education, including demographic shifts, funding crises, and diluted Catholic identity. Additionally, the strong representation of newer schools may indicate their successful response to the academic decline in American schools and the post-Vatican II decline in Catholic fidelity.