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California High Schools Lead U.S. News Rankings

With nearly 28 percent of its eligible high schools receiving a gold or silver medal, California again this year leads the nation in the 2013 ranking of Best High Schools from U.S. News and World Report.

Maryland came in second with 25.7 percent of its high schools receiving the top designations, and Connecticut was third at 18.9 percent in the analysis released today. A state-by-state listing is available on the U.S. News website.

Nearly 21,000 public high schools in 49 states (Nebraska was not included) and the District of Columbia were evaluated by U.S. News and ranked based on state proficiency standards and how well they prepare students for college.

The top 193 schools are listed here, with Dallas' School for the Gifted and Talented leading the pack for the second year in a row.

Basis Tuscon in Tuscon, Ariz., is listed as No. 2 and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology of Lawrenceville, Ga., takes the No. 3 spot entering the numerical rankings for the first time. Gwinnett is a new school, having opened in the fall of 2007 and graduating it's first class in 2012.

U.S. News, working with the American Institutes for Research, used the same methodology as last year to compile its list.

First, math and reading test results were reviewed, factoring in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students (who tend to score lower) enrolled at the school to identify the schools that were performing better than expected. Then analysts determined whether the school's least-advantaged students (black, Hispanic and low-income) were performing better than average for similar students in the state. Finally, schools were judged by a college-readiness performance index that considers participation and test scores from Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs.

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