Gunn and Palo Alto high schools have chosen not to participate in the annual Newsweek advanced-placement (AP) test rankings this year, citing the desire to reduce student stress and a feeling of competition.
"Philosophically we are opposed to ranking systems of any kind, especially those that involve high schools and high-school students," Gunn Principal Noreen Likins said.
"We are working hard to reduce stress and pressure on our students and rankings such as that conducted by Newsweek foster competition between schools that is neither productive nor healthy."
Educators are hoping to send the message that they want parents and students to focus more on an "all-around experience" including athletics, drama and student activities.
Years ago Gunn eliminated class rankings and ceased recognizing a class valedictorian "because it created intense competition," Likins said.
But Gunn does not plan to cut back on the number of AP offerings, said Tom Jacoubowsky, Gunn assistant principal and AP test coordinator.
Among Gunn seniors, more than half the students take at least one AP class, he said.
Last year 530 Gunn students took a total of 1,400 AP tests.
"The number of students taking AP tests has increased over the last five years," Jacoubowsky said.
More than 90 percent of the students pass the test with a score of three or higher, he added.
Paly Principal Scott Laurence was not available for comment.