Virginia is the state with the second most top performing high schools in the nation, under U.S. News & World Report's new ranking system.
One school in particular performed especially well. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria ranked as the No. 1 school in the state, and No. 4 nationally, moving up 10 places nationally since last year. The state-chartered magnet school also placed No. 3 out of all magnet schools in the U.S.
U.S. News & World Report creates a weighted score for each of the thousands of schools reviewed based on six main components.
College readiness makes up 30 percent of the score, followed by math and reading proficiency (20 percent) and performance based on the school’s average scores on standardized state tests (20 percent). The remaining 30 percent of the score depends on the school’s graduation rate, minority student performance and the participation of 12th graders in AP/IB exams.
Under this new ranking system, almost every public high school that was reviewed received a rank, according to U.S. News & World report. That is very different from previous years, wherein schools were ineligible for rankings if their graduation rates and state assessments were lower than the state median.
According to U.S. News & World Report, they reviewed more than 23,000 U.S. public high schools, and 323 Virginia schools made the rankings. Virginia follows only Massachusetts for having the most schools place in the top 25 percent of the overall list.
The No. 1 high school in the country went to Academic Magnet High School in Charleston, South Carolina. It was noted for having a 100 percent AP exam participation rate, reading proficiency rate and graduation rate among its students. It also topped the list for the best magnet school nationally.
In Maryland, the No. 1 high school was Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, which ranked 93rd nationally. The school recently came under fire for the online circulation of a photo that featured two of their students wearing blackface and using the a racial slur to describe the photo.
Benjamin Banneker Academic High School took the top spot for Washington, D.C., and placed 178th nationally.
Top Five Schools in Virginia
#1: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria
#2: Langley High School, McLean
#3: McLean High School, McLean
#4: Oakton High School, Vienna
#5: Open High School, Richmond
Top Five Schools in Maryland
#1: Walt Whitman High, Bethesda
#2: Thomas S. Wootton High, Rockville
#3: Eastern Technical High School, Baltimore
#4: River Hill High, Clarksville
#5: Bethesda-Chevy Chase High, Bethesda
Top Five Schools in Washington, D.C.
#1: Benjamin Banneker Academy High School
#2: School Without Walls High School
#3: BASIS DC
#4: McKinley Technology High School
#5: Ellington School of the Arts