U.S. News and World Report just released its list of the best high schools in the country and California schools dominated with 97 in the top 500. New York also fared well with 68 in the highest gold medal category, and Texas had 46, with two of the top three in the Dallas Independent School District.
In the 2012 Best High Schools rankings, 22,000 public high schools were evaluated and 4,318 with the highest scores were included.
Top honors went to:
1. School of the Talented and Gifted, Dallas
2. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Va.
3. School of Science and Engineering Magnet, Dallas
4. University High School, Tucson, Ariz.
5. International Academy, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Four of the top 20 are charter high schools. U.S. News released a separate list of the Best Charter Schools, as well as the Best Magnet Schools, Best High Schools for Math and Science and Most Connected (high tech) Classrooms.
Readers can search for rankings of high schools by state. Placement on the national rankings was determined by how well students did on state assessments and college readiness as measured by student success in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs.
Since the last edition of Best High Schools was published in 2009, U.S. News made some changes to its methodology. More schools were numerically ranked this year, compared to 100 in past years. Also, the college readiness threshold to determine medal status was lowered and nearly 30 percent of schools received a gold, silver, or bronze medals, compared to 9.3 percent of the eligible schools in 2009.
The first list of the U.S. News Best High Schools was posted online on November 30, 2007, followed by two more editions in 2008 and 2009.
U.S. News is known for its Best Colleges rankings, which have drawn criticism from the National Association of College Admission Counseling and others for presenting confusing impressions about college quality.