On December 10, U.S. News will publish online its third annual America's Best High Schools rankings of public high schools in the United States. This year, we are planning to expand these rankings to include all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
The rankings will reach newsstands and monthly magazine subscribers starting around December 17, as part of the January 2010 issue.
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 reflects how well high schools serve all their students, not just those who are collegebound.
Some background on how the rankings will be done: First, we plan to analyze information from about 22,500 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia using data from the 2007-2008 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. U.S. News awards the nearly 1,800 highest-scoring schools gold, silver, bronze, or honorable mention medals, depending on how well they fared in the ranking methodology. (A much more detailed America's Best High Schools methodology will be published when the rankings come out in December.)
In addition to the main rankings, there will be other rankings published for the top high schools for achievement by disadvantaged students; for the ones with the top International Baccalaureate programs; for the best schools with the smallest and the largest enrollments; for the best charter schools and the best magnet schools; and for the top schools with open enrollment.