How well do public high schools in the U.S. serve their students? To help parents and educators answer this question, U.S. News will publish new Best High Schools rankings on April 23.
The 2013 Best High Schools rankings, which will be available online only, were produced in conjunction with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world.
The Washington, D.C.-based AIR implemented U.S. News's comprehensive rankings methodology, which reflects how well high schools serve all of their students, not just those who are planning to go to college.
With the April 23 launch, U.S. News will once again publish detailed information on more than 21,000 public high schools, including school-specific data on enrollment, ethnicity, location, school type and results of state assessment proficiency tests and Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests.
Here's how the new rankings will be calculated: First, we analyzed information from more than 21,000 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia using data from the 2010-2011 school year.
A three-step process will be used to determine the Best High Schools on the national level. The first two steps will ensure that the high schools serve all their students well, using each state's proficiency test standards as the measuring benchmarks.
For the schools that make it past the first two steps in their own state, a third step will be used to assess "college readiness" – the degree to which schools have prepared their students in terms of both participation in and passing of college-level work using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests as the standard. U.S. News will then nationally rank the 4,805 highest-scoring schools.
Schools with the highest college readiness will be numerically ranked from No. 1 to No. 500 and will be the gold medal winners. The next group of high schools with highest college readiness indexes will be numerically ranked No. 501 through No. 2,290 and will be the silver medal winners. This will be followed by 2,515 bronze medal winners, listed alphabetically.
A high school's position in the numerical rankings; whether they were awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal; or whether they were ranked at all, will be dependent on how high they scored in all three steps of the Best High Schools rankings methodology.
In addition to the main national rankings, there will be new numerical rankings for the top high schools in each state and for the Best Charter Schools and Best Magnet Schools on a national level. A much more detailed Best High Schools methodology will be published when the rankings come out later this month.
Media representatives: To get access to Best High Schools 2013 rankings materials, please email Education-PR@usnews.com.