On December 5, U.S. News will publish online our second annual America's Best High Schools rankings of public high schools in the United States. This year, we hope to expand these rankings to include 47 states. This will be an increase from last year, which covered public high schools in 41 states. The rankings will reach newsstands on December 8 in the magazine issue dated December 15-22. Also new this year will be the inclusion of how well schools do on the International Baccalaureate tests, which were not part of last year's analysis.
To produce America's Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News teams up with School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research business run by Standard & Poor's. SES developed the comprehensive methodology, which determines how well high schools serve all their students, not just those who are collegebound.
Briefly, how will these upcoming rankings be done? We plan to analyze all public high schools in 47 states using data from the 2006-2007 school year. A three-step process determines the best high schools. The first two steps will ensure that the schools serve all their students well, using state proficiency standards as the measuring benchmarks. For the schools that make it past the first two steps, a third step assesses "college readiness"—the degree to which schools prepared students for college-level work using Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests. A much more detailed America's Best High Schools methodology will be published when the rankings come out in early December 2008.