The news today is that U.S. News published 2022 annual The Top High Schools ranking, in which they included every public high school eligible across the nation. Working with the North Carolina-based RTI International RTI International, worldwide non-profit research and consulting firm in the field of social science, U.S. News evaluated over 24,000 high schools that are public and gave a score of nearly 17,840 in the latest edition.
What Is New in This Year’s Ranking?
The 6 ranking indicator weights and the six rank indicators were identical to the indicators used in the three previous years, U.S. News adjusted its calculations to take into account the effects that the COVID-19 virus had on schools during the school year 2019-20. The majority of states are closing schools to allow in-person instruction starting in March 2020, which is a month when states are scheduled to conduct tests in the spring – the U.S. Department of Education granted waivers that allowed states to skip tests for 2019-20 school year.
In the absence of such information, U.S. News relied on assessment data from the prior three years of ranking as well as incorporating data from the state assessments of science from the school year 2018-19 to provide a more comprehensive measure of the student’s learning. Particularly we used an average of the following academic subjects utilized for reading and math assessment data as well as 2017-18 mathematics and assessment of reading data and the 2018-19 math, reading, and assessment of science data. Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Tennessee were the only states with reading and math data factored into for all three years. All states, except those six states, had added science tests in 2018-2019.
Graduation rates as well as those three indicators of ranking related to college-ready (12th graders who are taking and scoring well at AP and IB tests) used data only from the 2019-2020 cohort. That means that 50 percent of the ranking calculations utilized entirely new data.
Why Schools Moved Up and Down in the Ranking
The main reason behind the rise or decline of a school within the 2022 Best High Schools rankings pertained to its performance on those six rankings indicators. This is particularly true for the indicators for college readiness because of their importance in the rankings and the nature of them being composed of completely new information. State assessments’ performance could cause changes; However, since the rankings this year averaged assessment data that was applied to previous rankings, the addition of state science assessments from 2018-to 2019 in the calculation facilitated greater movement than if the edition’s ranking only relied on previous reading and math data.
A school’s rise or fall in any direction could be due in part to the availability of information. For instance, frequently the state’s education departments have rules for suppression of smaller groups, which result in assessment data being accessible in one year, but not the following. In the same way, graduation rates often were calculated from a limited interval in cases where the state could not give a precise percentage.
When evaluating around 17,840 public high schools an insignificant difference in scores could cause what seems to be a significant variation in rank. For instance that a school drops 50 spots nationally might seem like a significant loss however, it means that less than 0.3 percent of schools within the United States surpassed that school’s ranking.
Another way to look at it is to calculate if a school’s total score increased by one point from 97 in 2021 and the level of 98 in 2022, it will rise on the list by approximately 178 positions. If a school’s overall score dropped by half a point, from 1997 in 2021 until 96.5 by 2022, the school would drop by 89 spots within the ranking.
Find the complete 2022 Best High Schools rankings and details on over 24,000 high schools in the public sector right here.