On April 27, U.S. News will publish the 2021 Best High Schools rankings, which will include searchable profiles on nearly 24,000 public high schools.
U.S. News’ comprehensive methodology for the 2021 edition ranks nearly 18,000 public high schools nationally. The formula uses six ranking factors weighted to produce an overall score from which each school’s rank is determined. The methodology used in the 2021 Best High Schools rankings is fundamentally unchanged from last year.
The ranking factors measure performance on state math and reading proficiency tests; college readiness measured by participation in and performance on challenging college-level coursework using Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examinations; and graduation rates.
The highest-ranked public schools in the 2021 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings will be those whose attendees demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in the state assessments, participated in and passed a diverse array of college-level exams and graduated in high proportions.
RTI International, one of the world’s leading research institutes, worked with U.S. News to implement the ranking methodology, which reflects how well high schools serve all students, not just those planning to go to college.
In addition to the main national rankings, U.S. News will release numerical rankings for all the high schools in each state. Also, all 1,975 charter and 924 magnet schools will be ranked by U.S. News in the Best Charter Schools and Best Magnet Schools national rankings. The Best High Schools for STEM will again be a national ranking of the top 250 schools whose students excel on AP science and math tests.
In addition, U.S. News will also continue to publish rankings of high schools by metro area. For the second year in a row, U.S. News will publish separate rankings of high schools by school district. Each school district with three or more high schools will have a No. 1 ranked school for that district, and so forth.
The 2021 Best High Schools rankings, which will only be published online, include an analysis of detailed statistical information from the 2018-2019 school year. U.S. News evaluated data for schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and will publish school-specific data on enrollment, ethnic diversity, graduation rates, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs, state assessment results and AP and IB test participation and performance.
A detailed Best High Schools methodology will be published when the rankings are released on April 27.
Media outlets: For access to 2021 Best High Schools rankings materials, please email Education-PR@usnews.com.
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