Special Report

The 50 Smartest Public High Schools in the US

Measuring smarts is no easy feat — but schools across the country certainly try. American high school students, depending on the state, may take over 100 standardized tests before they graduate. These assessments help education officials gauge students’ abilities at certain grade levels across school districts and across states. 

Proponents of standardized testing argue that these tests can encourage schools to improve, and can accurately predict a student’s chances for academic success in the future. Critics argue that such tests unfairly discriminate against non-English speakers and are not comprehensive enough in their assessment of student abilities. 

Standardized testing remains a major component of the U.S. public education system, culminating in standardized tests that can be used in college admissions, such as ACT and SAT. Typically these tests are second in importance only to GPA in the college admissions process. And some schools appear better equipped to prepare students for success on standardized tests than others. 

Using average SAT and ACT test scores from school data clearinghouse Niche, as well as the percentages of high school students who are proficient in math and reading on state assessments from the U.S. Department of Education, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 smartest public high schools in the United States. 

We only considered the schools that rank in Niche’s top 300 public high schools. It is important to note that the schools on this list are numbered in alphabetical order by city and are not ranked. Smaller schools are at greater risk of large annual fluctuations in test scores, and therefore we only considered schools with an enrollment of over 500 in our analysis. 

This list was formulated strictly on the basis of student test performance. It does not take into account other measures that are commonly used to gauge the quality of an education system, like Advanced Placement enrollment and graduation rates. Here is a look at the cities where the most people graduate high school.

Click here to the 50 smartest public high schools in the U.S., listed alphabetically by city
Click here to read our detailed findings and full methodology

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