In 2018, the sole indicator was participation by high school seniors in an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam, meaning 100 percent of the rankings were based on standardized tests.
As it turns out, the six factors used by the magazine for its 2019 rankings mostly involved standardized test participation or scores (90 percent) with graduation rates accounting for the remaining 10 percent. But different tests are included and so are different ways of looking at them. (We won’t dwell on the fact that standardized test scores provide a very limited look at what students know and can do. Nor will we fixate on the fact that graduation rates can, and have been, fudged in the past.)
U.S. News said that in addition to the changes in the indicators used in its calculations, it ranked more than 17,000 high schools this year, compared with 2,700 in 2018.
As a result, U.S. News said, “Since the methodology changed so significantly this year, a school’s ranking in the 2019 Best High Schools ranking can’t be compared with its rankings in any previous U.S. News ranking.”
Here’s the 2019 Top 10, followed by the 2018: