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US News’ High School Rankings: Cerritos’ Whitney High Falls From Top in State, and Plunges 16 Spots in National Rankings

BY BRIAN HEWS • April 23, 2020

U.S. News & World Report’s newest 2020 rankings placed two of the top 20 high schools in the nation in Southern California and five of the top 10 in California.

The U.S. News Best High Schools rankings include data on more than 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 18,000 schools were ranked on six factors based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

The study evaluates six areas: college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth, and graduation rates.

According to its methodology, U.S. News used advanced placement and International Baccalaureate test scores to measure college readiness.

The California Academy of Mathematics and Science, a Long Beach Unified magnet school in Carson, ranked first in California and 11th nationally.

Oxford Academy in Cypress  ranked second in California and 19th nationally.

Cerritos’ Whitney High School fell from the top spot in California to third best, while also falling sixteen spots from the 14th best high school nationwide to 30th this year.

U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings were based on the 2016-17 academic year, so the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent shuttering of schools did not play a role in the evaluation.

(CORRECTION: In the original post, HMG-LCCN incorrectly indicated the data was from 2017-2018 but it was from 2016-2017 school year.)

And that was when a new principal, John Briquelet, was hired at Whitney.

“The Best High Schools rankings provide the most comprehensive, data-based information on nearly every public high school in the country,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News. “Families can use this information to see how their local schools compare on graduation rates and state assessments, as well as academic performance by students who are traditionally underserved – those who are black, Hispanic or from low-income households.”

The highest-ranked schools are scattered throughout the country, showing that the best schools are not concentrated in any one geographic area. Nine different states are represented among the top 10 schools. More broadly, the top 100 schools span 29 states.

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia moves up to No. 1 this year, due to its best-in-state performance in English and math assessments, top ranking in college readiness and 100% graduation rate.

Half of Massachusetts’ high schools are in the top quarter of the national rankings – the highest proportion of any state. However, the major metropolitan area with this distinction is found in California. The San Jose metro area, which includes Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, has 63% of its schools in the top quarter of the national rankings.

The Best High Schools rankings are available exclusively on USNews.com and include data on a variety of factors, such as enrollment, student diversity, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs, graduation rates and the results of state assessments. U.S. News worked with RTI International, a global research firm, to implement the comprehensive ranking methodology. For more information, visit Facebook and Twitter using #BestHighSchools.




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