Murrieta Valley High School: Full Guide

Location: Murrieta, CA

Are you a student or parent at Murrieta Valley High School? Want to understand how to get the most out of high school?

We've written the best guide to Murrieta Valley High available. Here we'll cover:

  • Breakdowns of student ethnicity, gender, and family income
  • How safe Murrieta Valley High is to attend
  • SAT/ACT/AP scores earned by Murrieta Valley High students
  • Which AP/IB classes you can take at Murrieta Valley High
  • Every sports team you can join at Murrieta Valley High

Let's get started!

Basic Information

Murrieta Valley High School is a public school, supporting grades 9 to 12 . It's located in Murrieta, CA in Riverside County.

Based on its location, Murrieta Valley High is classified as a school in a large suburb. Here's the location on a map:


Contact Information

Mailing address:

Murrieta Valley High School
42200 Nighthawk Way
Murrieta, CA 92562-6235

Phone number: 9516961408

Murrieta Valley High School homepage: http://www.murrieta.k12.ca.us/MVHS

Principal: Eric Mooney
Email the principal: [email protected]


Student Demographics

Student Enrollment

The total enrollment at Murrieta Valley High School is 2365 students, making it a very large high school, in the top 10% of all California high schools by size.

Wow! Attending Murrieta Valley High might feel like attending a college. You'll be surrounded by a large group of students (over 500 per class) and have more options for activities and clubs to join, which can be exciting.

On the other hand, you may also find that resources like counseling are spread thin across so many students. Make sure that you can get enough teacher and counselor attention to succeed at Murrieta Valley High, which may require being proactive.


Growth in Student Body Size

Is Murrieta Valley High School growing or shrinking? This will help you see trends in where the school is headed.

From our calculations, the enrollment at Murrieta Valley High has increased over the past few years. We calculate this by comparing enrollment in grades 9 to 12.

Male Students Female Students All Students
9th grade 342 280 622
10th grade 316 289 605
11th grade 280 282 562
12th grade 293 270 563

As you can see in the table above, the freshman class is 59 students larger than the senior class. This suggests that the school is growing in size and taking on more students.

There are a few reasons this could be happening. The city of Murrieta could be growing in population, thus sending more students into Murrieta Valley High. Alternatively, Murrieta Valley High could be relaxing its student policies and taking in more students.


Gender Split

Are there more boys or girls at Murrieta Valley High School?

From our statistics, Murrieta Valley High has a 53:47 split between male and female students in the high school grades.

Murrieta Valley High has a balanced male-female ratio that's largely representative of the general population in Riverside County. Since the student body is roughly half and half, it should feel like there are equal numbers of boys and girls in your classes.

This usually means that Murrieta Valley High doesn't strongly select for either males or females, unlike other schools that have a large majority of males or females.


Ethnicity Breakdown

What's the racial diversity at Murrieta Valley High School? Does one ethnicity make up most of the student body, or is it fairly balanced?

From our statistics, Murrieta Valley High has a somewhat homogenous student body, with the majority of students identifying as one ethnicity, but not representing over 70% of the student body. Most schools in California fit this profile, so Murrieta Valley High isn't out of the ordinary. Most students attending class with you will be of the predominant ethnicity, but there will be meaningful diversity from other races.

The majority of students at Murrieta Valley High are white. In California, white students make up 26.3% of all California students, and are the second most common ethnicity after Hispanic students. Thus Murrieta Valley High is one of hundreds of schools in the state that have a majority of white students.

Percentage Number
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.5% 13
Asian 6.7% 160
Hispanic 26.4% 625
Black 4.0% 96
White 58.9% 1395
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0.2% 5
Two or more races 3.0% 71

High schools usually reflect the population in the surrounding area, so the ethnicities of students likely resembles those of Murrieta. If you'd like to see how other nearby schools look in diversity, just google "[name of school] prepscholar" to find our guide to that specific school.


Income Level of Murrieta Valley High Families

What are the family incomes of students at Murrieta Valley High School? To determine this, we look at the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, a classification by the US federal government.

To qualify for a reduced price meal, family income needs to be below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of 4, this means an income of around $45,000 or below.

To qualify for a free meal, family income needs to be below 130% of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of 4, this means an income of around $32,000 or below.

The lower the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price meals, the higher the income levels are likely to be.

At Murrieta Valley High, 7.3% of students qualify for reduced-price lunches, and 15.5% qualify for free lunches.

This means Murrieta Valley High has a low poverty level. The overwhelming majority of students at Murrieta Valley High don't qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Murrieta is thus likely to be an affluent community, with quite high family incomes.

Number Percent
Reduced-price lunches 174 7.3%
Free lunches 368 15.5%
Do not qualify for reduced-price or free lunches 1823 77.0%

As with ethnicity, this likely reflects the surrounding community in Murrieta and doesn't speak much about the school itself.

Because Murrieta Valley High is in the top quartile of schools by family income, it's likely to be well-funded relative to other high schools in California. This means you'll likely have access to advanced coursework like AP/IB classes and better-funded extracurriculars and sports.

It's still up to you, though, to take advantage of the resources Murrieta Valley High has to offer. If you work hard and spend your time effectively, you'll likely be well positioned to succeed in college and beyond.

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School Safety

How safe is Murrieta Valley High School to attend? Can you expect a lot of conflict as a student here?

To study this, we look at disciplinary data for two types of incidents at Murrieta Valley High: referrals to law enforcement (when incidents are reported to police), and arrests.

These are the most serious disciplinary actions available to school administration and are more severe than suspensions or expulsions. Suspensions are often discretionary and can be given just for being disruptive in class. In contrast, law enforcement referrals and arrests often indicate incidents that put the safety of other Murrieta Valley High students at risk.

In the school year of 2011-2012, there were 52 referrals to law enforcement (36 male, 16 female), and 19 school-related arrests (11 males, 8 females). This is out of a total enrollment of 2374 students.

To put this into perspective, most California schools (59% of them) reported 0 law enforcement referrals and arrests.

This means that 2.9 Murrieta Valley High has minor safety issues. For every 100 students, there were just 2.9 law-enforcement related actions, but this is still higher than 75% of California schools.

With this record, is Murrieta Valley High School significantly different from other schools in the area? It could be that Murrieta Valley High has an especially bad record, or it could be that the local area shows a pattern.

Compare this school with other high schools in the same school district, using the following table:

Murrieta Valley Unified School District Safety

School Name Total Referred Total Arrests Enrollment
Creekside High 0 0 164
Tenaja Canyon Academy 10 0 106
Vista Murrieta High 2 0 3247
Murrieta Mesa High 27 17 2185

Academic Performance


Now we get to a major aspect of assessing a high school: academic performance. How good of an education will you get at Murrieta Valley High School? Will you be competitive for college? Will you have access to advanced classes?

We've compiled everything we could find about Murrieta Valley High's academics here.


Graduation Rate

To start off, an important benchmark of academic achievement is graduation rate. For all students who start high school at Murrieta Valley High, the state of California wants as many students to graduate as possible, since a high school diploma can mean a big difference in getting a job.

At Murrieta Valley High, 93% (of 735) Murrieta Valley High students graduated within four years of starting high school.

Here's how this stacks up to other schools. The California state government has defined 90% as a target rate. The state average is around 80-85%.

Murrieta Valley High is in the 81st percentile of all public high schools in California for graduation rate. This is well above average. Generally, a graduation rate of above 90% is considered good and well above average, and below 75% is well below average.

Note: This data comes from a few years back, but the trends are likely to stay the same, since schools don't get significantly better or worse within a short period of time.

Standardized Testing


Next, we'll look at another major piece of high school academics: standardized testing performance for Murrieta Valley High School students. These are tests that are administered to large populations of students for comparison purposes.

Let’s start by taking a look at the data for nationally administered standardized tests.

SAT Scores

As you probably know, the SAT is a critical test used for college admissions. The higher the score you get, the better your academic performance compared to students nationwide, and the easier it is to get into top colleges.

We did in-depth research and found the average Murrieta Valley High School SAT scores.

The average composite SAT score is a 1520 out of 2400, compared to a national average of 1500. Each year, roughly 479 at Murrieta Valley High take the SAT.

This is an average SAT score, putting Murrieta Valley High School right around the national average. Because the SAT measures academic achievement, this suggests that Murrieta Valley High will offer a fairly standard high school education, neither strongly lacking or outperforming.

Note, however, that this is just an average - the top students can still exceed the average significantly. If you can rise far above your school average, you'll have a great shot at entering a strong college.

Here's a breakdown of SAT scores by section:

Average SAT Scores (2013-2014)

Source Critical Reading Math Writing Composite
Murrieta Valley High 511 510 501 1520
California 498 510 496 1504
United States 495 511 484 1490

Note that the SAT has since changed to a 1600 scale, but the trends above for your high school are likely to continue. Just use this guide to convert between the old 2400 scale and the new 1600 scale.

To learn more about SAT percentile rankings, read our guide on what SAT percentiles really mean.

How good is 1520 as an SAT score? Find out with our complete 1520 SAT score guide, including which colleges you can get into with a 1520 or any other SAT score!

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ACT Scores

In California, the ACT is less popular than the SAT. Fewer students take the ACT, and typically these students are more motivated and academically prepared for college. Therefore, it's harder to compare Murrieta Valley High School ACT scores with the rest of the country.

At Murrieta Valley High, the average ACT composite score was 23, compared to the nationwide average of 20. Each year, roughly 192 out of 2352 total students take the ACT.

This is above average performance, putting Murrieta Valley High in the top 50% of California high schools. Since the ACT tests what you learn in school, these ACT scores are a good indication that you'll get an above-average education at Murrieta Valley High.

Here are the average English, Math, Reading, and Science scores for Murrieta Valley High compared to California and the US:

Average ACT Scores

Source English Math Reading Science
Murrieta Valley High 23 23 24 23
California 21.8 22.8 22.3 21.7
UnitedStates 20.3 20.9 21.3 20.8

Scores provided are for the 2013-14 school year.

Find out more about percentile rankings and the ACT in this article.

Every individual is different. What counts as a good ACT score for you? Learn more with this article!

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Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are college-level courses that are an additional academic challenge may give Murrieta Valley High School students credit for college.

Here's what we're looking for: high average AP test scores as well as high AP passing rates.

AP Scores

Every year, roughly 426 students in grades 9-12 at Murrieta Valley High take 754 AP exams. It's important to understand how students score on the AP - earning a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP test means passing the test and often earning college credit.

The average score of all AP exams taken at Murrieta Valley High is 3.1 out of 5.

This is a solid achievement showing above average performance. The majority of students get a passing grade of 3 or above, placing them above the national average. This performance places Murrieta Valley High School in the top 25% of schools for AP tests.

Murrieta Valley High therefore has a robust AP program with classes that will help you pass the AP exam. Furthermore, a sizable number of students still earn a 4 or a 5 on their AP tests, so if you're motivated to do well, you can still get a great AP score.

We have specific data on how many students got a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 (out of 5) on AP exams in the chart below:


AP Test-Taking Statistics

Another way to gauge the quality of a school's AP program is to see how many AP students actually took AP exams at Murrieta Valley High School. If a lot of students enroll in AP courses but don't actually take the AP tests, it can be a sign that students don't feel adequately prepared to take the test, or the school isn't encouraging students to take the exams enough.

At Murrieta Valley High, there is a total enrollment of 500 in AP courses (a student taking more than one AP course counts more than once).

Of AP-taking students, 370 took AP tests for ALL AP courses. 4 students took AP tests for SOME AP Courses, and 31 took AP courses but took NO tests.


This is good test participation. Most AP students at Murrieta Valley High School take the AP test for every one of their AP courses, outnumbering the students who take some or no AP exams. This is a good sign that students feel confident enough to take tests for all AP courses available to them, which reflects well on the teachers and course material. Murrieta Valley High can continue to improve by reducing the number of students who take AP exams for some or none of their courses, but it's in a good state.

Note: The most recent data we have available is from 2012, so the statistics may have changed since then. Most likely, however, the trends are likely to continue - above average schools are likely to stay above average, and below average schools are likely to stay below average.


AP Passing Rates

For AP students at Murrieta Valley High School who take the exam, it's important to know how they do. Here we have specific data on how many students got a passing grade (a 3 or above) on all, some, or none of the AP exams that they took.

Of all AP test takers, 243 students passed every AP test they took, which is a fantastic job. 120 students passed some but not all AP exams, and 42 students didn't pass ANY AP exam they took.

 

This is very strong performance. The majority of Murrieta Valley High School students pass ALL the AP tests they take - an impressive feat, especially if students take multiple AP exams each year!

Overall, this points to a strong AP program at Murrieta Valley High: across all AP course offerings, teachers are able to prepare students well for the exam. There are still some students who fail some or all of their exams, but this is a good starting point to improve from. You'll have a strong foundation to learn from throughout high school.

To find out the passing rates for specific AP courses at Murrieta Valley High School, you'll have to talk to your guidance counselor (who can then help you find that information). For instance, one AP Calculus teacher may have an above-90% passing rate, while another might only have a 50% passing rate. If you can, you'll want to take the class with the teacher who has more students get a 3 or above on the AP exam.

Find out more about the average score for each AP subject here.


State Tests

As of 2014, eleventh graders attending Murrieta Valley High School must take standardized tests in English/Language Arts and Math as part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). These align with the new Common Core standards and are called the "Smarter Balanced" tests.

If Murrieta Valley High students meet or exceed state standards, they're academically prepared to graduate high school and go to college. Specifically, we care about the percentage of students who meet or exceed state standards. The larger this number, the higher the preparation of students at Murrieta Valley High.

English/Language Arts

At Murrieta Valley High School, 78% of students meet or exceed state standards in English/Language Arts.

This is considered very good and puts Murrieta Valley High in the top 10% of all high schools in California for English/Language Arts. Most Murrieta Valley High students pass or exceed state standards, and many of them are likely well above average.

English/Language Arts Test Results (2015)

 

Read more about what’s measured in each ELA area score here.


Math

The other major test taken for state assessments is Math. Across the state, Math performance is generally lower than English/Language Arts performance, so it's natural for this number to be lower.

At Murrieta Valley High School, 44% of students meet or exceed state standards in Math. This is considered well below average and puts Murrieta Valley High in the bottom 25% of all high schools in California. The vast majority of Murrieta Valley High students don't meet state standards, and only a small percentage pass.

Math Test Results (2015)

 

Read more about what’s measured in each Math area score, go here.


Academic Offerings


In addition to the standard high school curriculum, many high schools like Murrieta Valley High School offer advanced coursework as part of the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.

Brief Intro to AP/IB

AP and IB courses are designed at the difficulty level of college introductory classes. There are several important benefits to taking advanced coursework at Murrieta Valley High. First, taking more advanced classes shows colleges that you're committed to challenging yourself academically, and that you're one of the more advanced students at Murrieta Valley High. Taking AP/IB classes also raises your weighted GPA and makes you a stronger college applicant.

Furthermore, many colleges will accept your Murrieta Valley High AP/IB coursework as college coursework. In some cases, you'll be able to skip introductory-level classes and move to more advanced classes. In other cases, you'll be able to avoid having to take required courses and might even be able to graduate earlier than the standard 4 years. Often this will require you to pass the AP test, getting a score of 3 or above.

So what advanced courses does Murrieta Valley High School offer?

AP Courses

Murrieta Valley High School offers AP courses in 13 subjects.

This is a reasonable number of AP subjects, putting Murrieta Valley High School in the top 50% of California schools that offer AP courses. You'll likely have access to some of the most popular math and humanities AP subjects, as well as a few others.

The total number of AP subjects is 38, so Murrieta Valley High is missing a large number of subjects, including some popular ones. If there are any AP courses you want to take that aren't being offered at Murrieta Valley High, ask your counselor for ideas on how to cover the gap.

Of course, keep in mind that quality matters even more than quantity - even if Murrieta Valley High doesn't offer every AP course under the sun, the classes might still be taught very well. You can see student performance in the AP score analysis section above.

The following AP courses were offered at Murrieta Valley High during 2015-2016:

Course Title
Biology
Calculus AB
Calculus BC
Chemistry
English Language and Composition
English Literature and Composition
European History
Physics 1: Algebra-Based
Psychology
Spanish Language and Culture
Statistics
United States Government and Politics
United States History

IB Courses


The International Baccalaureate program is less popular in the United States than the Advanced Placement program (there are around 850 diploma schools in the country and 100 in California). But Murrieta Valley High School is one of the lucky few to have an IB program!

For college application purposes, the IB and AP programs are basically equivalent. So don't worry about being advantaged or disadvantaged either way if you participate in IB vs AP. What colleges care about first is academic achievement, and AP and IB classes are seen as equally challenging.

Murrieta Valley High School has been an IB school since 4/7/10. Questions about the IB program at Murrieta Valley High? You can contact the IB Diploma Programme coordinator, Mrs Alanna Fields, by phone at +1 951 696 1408.

The following IB courses were offered at Murrieta Valley High during 2015-2016:

Course Title HL/SL
German BHL + SL
Spanish BHL + SL
BiologyHL + SL
Mathematical studiesSL
PsychologyHL + SL
Environmental systems and societiesSL
Business managementHL + SL
Theory of Knowledge
French BHL + SL
English A LiteratureHL + SL
MusicHL + SL
MathematicsHL + SL
HistoryHL + SL
Visual Arts

You can find out more about the IB testing schedule by going here.

We've also written the best study and test guides to International Baccalaureate.


Sports Teams

Finally, we'll cover which sports teams are available at Murrieta Valley High School. Sports are an integral part of many students' high school experiences. The more sports that are available, and the more levels supported (Frosh, JV, Varsity), the more likely you'll be able to participate in a sport at Murrieta Valley High.

By the way, the Murrieta Valley High mascot is the Nighthawks. Go Nighthawks!

Murrieta Valley High School fields 23 teams for girls' sports. This is an impressively high number that puts Murrieta Valley High in the top 10% of California schools that offer girls' sports. If you're a female, you'll have plenty of options of sports and levels to try out for. Furthermore, schools that offer more teams typically have a strong sports culture and field competitive teams.

And now for the boys: Murrieta Valley High School fields 26 teams for boys' sports. Clearly Murrieta Valley High has a strong sports culture - Murrieta Valley High is in the top 10% of California schools that offer boys' sports. Boys will find plenty of options of sports at different levels to try out for. Because more teams usually also means more resources devoted to sports, you can also expect Murrieta Valley High sports teams to be competitive.

Boys Teams Girls Teams
Lacrosse
Var JV Fr
Lacrosse
Var JV Fr
Basketball
Var JV Fr
Basketball
Var JV Fr
Golf
Var JV Fr
Golf
Var JV Fr
Tennis
Var JV Fr
Tennis
Var JV Fr
Football
Var JV Fr
Wrestling
Var JV Fr
Wrestling
Var JV Fr
Volleyball
Var JV Fr
Volleyball
Var JV Fr
Baseball
Var JV Fr
Softball
Var JV Fr
Waterpolo
Var JV Fr
Waterpolo
Var JV Fr
Trackfield
Var JV Fr
Trackfield
Var JV Fr
Crosscountry
Var JV Fr
Crosscountry
Var JV Fr
Soccer
Var JV Fr
Soccer
Var JV Fr
Fieldhockey
Var JV Fr

What’s Next?


Want to get more useful information about high school classes and preparing for colleges? Our blog has a ton of articles and advice on topics ranging from coursework and GPA to letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, and much more!

Ready to bulk up your schedule and maximize your college preparedness? Read all about the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.

Not quite in high school yet, but eager to get started? We've also got information for younger students interested in advanced learning opportunities, both in and out of school.

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Sources

The data on this page is drawn from a variety of sources, including (but not limited to):