Magnet Ranked One of the Best High Schools in the Country


U.S. News & World Report recently released their rankings of the best high schools in the nation. More than 21,000 schools were represented in the ranking process from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The schools were awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal based on certain criteria. Each school was ranked numerically according to their College Readiness Index which was based on their performance on state assessments, their graduation rate, and how well they prepare their students for college. This year Academic Magnet came in as the #8 high school in the nation, the #3 Magnet school, and the #1 high school in South Carolina.

U.S. News partnered with a social science research firm, RTI International, to create a way to comprehensively rank the high schools.  The methodology is based on these criteria: “that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.” New to the criteria this year, U.S. News also took into account the graduation rate. Schools have to “meet or exceed a national standard high school graduation rate to be considered top-performing schools and to be ranked at a national level.”

The process of ranking the eligible high schools is broken down into 4 steps. First, the students of each school are compared to what is statistically expected for the students in that state. This includes looking at the results of reading and math proficiency tests, as well as factoring in the percentages of economically disadvantaged students. The second step involves evaluating if the school’s disadvantaged students are performing better than other disadvantaged students in the state. The third step in determining the 2016 rankings is new to the methodology. High schools can only pass this step if their graduation rate is 68 percent or higher. If a school passes all of these steps, it is eligible to be judged nationally on the last step, which calculates a College Readiness Index based on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate participation rates and test scores.

U.S. News then awards gold, silver, and bronze medals to qualifying high schools. Only 2.5% of the schools ranked earned the gold medal ranking, while 10.9% earned silver, 17.8% earned bronze, and 68.8% did not earn a medal. Seventeen of the gold medal recipients had a perfect score of 100.00 in the College Readiness Index. Academic Magnet received one of those gold medals and a College Readiness Index of 100.

The rankings for the best high schools in each state are based on the national rankings. Because Academic Magnet was ranked the highest nationally, it was ranked #1 in the South Carolina. School of the Arts came in at #2 and Wando came in at #6. The Magnet school rankings also follow the national rankings, and Academic Magnet was ranked as the #3 magnet school in the nation.

For more information on the ranking methodology: