Navigate Up
Sign In

National School Achievement

grad-header.jpg

Two national publications use slightly differing criteria to judge the academic performance of high schools across the country and rank them in order of achievement.
U.S. News & World Report considers how all students and disadvantaged students perform against the state averages, whether graduation rates meet or exceed a national standard, and participation and performance in Advanced Placement exams.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post publishes a list of what it calls, "America's Most Challenging High Schools." It ranks comprehensive high schools through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year.​
​​


U.S. News & World Report ranks top high schools in Washington

Wilson High Schools earns a silver medal

In the 2017 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, there are eight Washington schools with gold medals, 31 with silver medals and 57 with bronze medals.
The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 22,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

How U.S. News and World Report Determines the Awards

STEP 1 | Students perform better than expected in their state.
We looked at reading and math results for students on each state's proficiency tests and then factored in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students, who tend to score lower.
STEP 2 | Disadvantaged students perform better than state average.
We compared each school's math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students - black, Hispanic and low-income - with the statewide results for these student groups and then selected schools that were performing better than their state averages.
STEP 3 | Student graduation rates meet or exceed a national standard
We excluded schools from consideration if their graduation rates were lower than 75 percent – a threshold that is higher than a federal law that requires states to give extra resources to schools below 67 percent.
STEP 4 | Students are prepared for college-level coursework.
We calculated a College Readiness Index, which is based on the school's AP participation rate and how well the students did on those tests. Tiebreakers were used to determine ranks of schools that achieved the same College Readiness Index.



The Washington Post’s Education Columnist
Jay Matthews released his annual rankings of how well the nation’s top high schools challenge their students. 2017 showed a sustained increase in the number of schools that qualify for America’s Most Challenging High Schools list, with about 12 percent of U.S. high schools making the cut. When the list debuted in 1998, just one percent qualified. 

America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates.​

The list was invented to recognize great schools like yours.