U.S. News Releases Top Ranked Public High Schools In The Nation

July 02, 2014

On the heels of the Obama Administration’s commitment to pump $100 million into public schools to better prepare students for technical careers in the future, a 2014 U.S. News study reveals the best public high schools in the nation.  While 31,200 high schools from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia were evaluated, results for 19,400 were recently published through the U.S. News and World Report website, USNews.com.  Demographic information as well as AP (Advanced Placement), and IB (International Baccalaureate) test results were reported as well.

U.S. News, together with American Institutes for Research, based in Washington D.C. awarded schools gold, silver and bronze medals based on how well students performed on state assessment tests, and how effective schools were in the education of minority and economically disadvantaged students across the nation.  The study also evaluated participation and performance on student AP and IB exams and the ability of these programs to prepare students for college-level coursework.

Top 10 Performers

One Dallas, Texas high school took home the gold, and designation as the top public high school in the nation—School for the Talented and Gifted.  This isn’t the first time for TAG who has placed number one for the past three years in a row and requires students to take a minimum of 11 AP courses throughout their Junior and Senior years at the school.  As part of regular curriculum the School for the Talented and Gifted encourages students to work through area universities for field research as well.

The BASIS, Scottsdale Charter high school earns the number two spot in the country and ranks number one in Arizona public high schools for education overall.  Its Tucson North campus dropped to the number five position in the nation this year however, but with 701 students the school still scores 100.0 on the college readiness index. 

Gwinnett School of Mathematics Science and Technology in Georgia and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia rank third and fourth respectively among top performing high schools in the nation, while Pine View School in Florida ranked number six in the country. 

University High School, Arizona earned the number seven position, while the Dallas, Texas School of Science and Engineering Magnet ranked number eight.  The International Academy in Michigan holds the position for ninth best public high school in the nation, followed by the Oxford Academy, California that came in tenth in the country.

The state that obtained the most gold medals of any in the country was California, with 105 gold medal-high schools overall.

Of the top 500 high schools in the nation, charter and magnet schools were awarded 155 medals.  U.S. News ranked each of these types of schools separately as both screen prospective students through an application process or the use of a lottery system that limits enrollment.  Magnet schools also rely on a process that attracts the most academically gifted students in a particular area.

The US News report further ranks best charter schools in the nation, best magnet schools, as well as best high schools for STEM, (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  Schools were evaluated based on AP test scores in calculus, physics and computer science.  Gold medal schools were the only high schools evaluated for STEM achievement and only 250 schools ranked high enough for consideration in this category.

All in all, 500 high schools earned a gold medal ranking, 1,519 took home silver and 2,688 were awarded bronze.

U.S. News & World Report covers a variety of areas including engineering, law, medicine, business and social sciences.  The magazine is widely known for its ranking of educational institutions including high schools, universities and graduate schools in the United States.