News magazine Newsweek has published its 2015 High School Rankings, which details and ranks public high schools across the country in terms of quality and college readiness.
A list of "America's Top High Schools" is included in the national rankings, which takes a closer look at 500 public high schools across the United States whose students they say are best prepared for college. In addition, a "Beating the Odds" list is also included, ranking a separate 500 public high schools in the country that excel at helping disadvantaged students prepare for college.
"Newsweek's High School Rankings are exceptional because of the many factors we take into consideration when selecting top schools as well as our look at inequality when it comes to education. We have unique insight into what public schools across the country are doing to prepare their students for college, which is a critical next step for graduating teens," said Jim Impoco, Editor in Chief of Newsweek. "Our analysis looks at a broad range of criteria and sheds light on schools that are setting the bar high for their students and helping them to succeed in the next chapter of their education."
The top 500 high schools are chosen by the magazine through a number of factors including graduation rates, college enrollment rates, SAT and ACT scores, AP scores, the ratio of full time counselors to students, dropout rates, enrollment in college courses while in high school, and state test scores. Meanwhile, the "Beating the Odds" list takes into account not only all of the aforementioned factors, but also the effects of social inequality on student performance through including student poverty, which is determined based on eligibility for free or reduced price lunches.
Schools that made it onto the top high school list performed at or above the 70th percentile in each state. Schools listed on the "Beating the Odds" list were those that performed 0.5 standard deviations or more than their state's average when socioeconomic status of the students was accounted for.
Schools that received a gold star on the ranking lists were those that report academic performance of economically disadvantaged students to be equal to that of the state average for all students on both the R/LA and math exams.
Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia was rated number one on the top high schools list this year with a perfect College Readiness Score of 100 based on Newsweek's criteria. The school currently holds a graduation rate of 100% and a college enrollment rate of 99.8%. On average, students at the school score a 2,182 on the SAT and the average AP exam score is a 4.45.