High School Classroom

U.S. News & World Report Announces 2019 Best High Schools Rankings

April 30, 2019

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — U.S. News & World Report today announced the 2019 Best High Schools rankings, highlighting top-performing public schools on a state and national level. For the fifth year in a row, U.S. News collaborated with RTI International, a leading nonprofit research institute, to research and produce the rankings.

Academic Magnet High School in South Carolina earned the No. 1 spot nationally, followed by Maine School of Science and Mathematics, which ranked second, and BASIS Scottsdale, which ranked third.

Researchers at RTI helped collect and analyze the data behind the rankings using a revamped U.S. News methodology, which analyzes six factors: (1) college readiness, (2) reading and math proficiency, (3) reading and math performance, (4) underserved student performance, (5) college curriculum breadth and (6) graduation rates. Specifically, college readiness measures participation and performance on Advanced Placement® (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests.

For The 2019 rankings, U.S. News collaborated with RTI researchers to develop a new methodology that takes all of the school performance aspects into account to create an overall ranking score rather than taking the step-by-step approach used in previous years. This allowed U.S. News to calculate a ranking for over 17,000 public high schools in the U.S.

“Our mission with the Best High Schools rankings has always been to educate families about the schools in their district,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “By evaluating more schools than ever before, the new edition expands that focus so all communities can see which schools in their area are successfully serving their students — including historically underserved populations.”

With 11.1% of its high schools ranking among the top 5% of all schools, Massachusetts had the largest percentage of top ranked schools. Other states with close to 10% of their schools appearing in the top 5% of schools nationwide include Maryland (9.8%), New Jersey (9.6%), Connecticut (9.2%), the District of Columbia (9.1%) and California (8.1%). A state-by-state breakdown is available here along with the national rankings. U.S. News released Best STEM Schools, Best Charter Schools, Best Magnet Schools and individual statewide rankings.

The U.S. News Best High Schools website includes data assembled by RTI for thousands of schools.  For more information about Best High Schools and to view the full list of rankings, visit www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools .

Elisabeth Hensley, senior researcher, led the data collection and analysis for RTI.

Media Contact for U.S. News & World Report: Madeline Smanik, education-PR@usnews.com