U.S. News changes methodology for ranking high schools

May 4, 2019

For the 2019 Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News & World Report revamped its methodology. The results are not comparable to those from previous reports.

To compile the rankings, U.S. News used data from the U.S. Department of Education, states education agencies, the College Board as the source of Advanced Placement examination data and International Baccalaureate. The goal was to find schools that “serve all students well, not just those planning to go to college,” according to a media release.

Schools were rated based on the following six measures:

College readiness (30% of the ranking): measured by the percentage of 12th-graders from the 2016-17 class who took at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam and the percentage of those who passed at least one of those exams in high school. Passing is weighted three times more than taking.College curriculum breadth (10%): the percentage of 12th-graders from the 2016-17 class who took a wide variety of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses across multiple disciplines and the percentage who passed them, with passing weighted three times more than taking.Reading and math proficiency (20%): measures how well students scored on state assessments on these subjects.Reading and math performance (20%): the difference between how students performed on state assessments and what U.S. News predicted based on a school’s student body.Underserved student performance (10%): measures how well students receiving subsidized school lunches and black and Hispanic populations perform on state assessments relative to statewide performance among students not in those subgroups.Graduation rate (10%)

Each school received an overall percentile score between zero and 100 to indicate the position of that school relative to the 17,245 ranked schools. A school with a score of 90 means that 10% of schools are ranked higher and 90% are ranked lower. Only high schools that placed in the top 75% have individual rankings.