In May, U.S. News & World Report published its 2015 ranking of the nation's best public high schools. The rankings were based on data from 29,070 public high schools and from that total, 19,753 schools with high enough enrollment and sufficient data to be ranked.
As in 2012, 2013 and 2014, schools were ranked based on: (1) how well students tested in state-level reading and math proficiency*, taking into account disadvantaged student scores (who tend to score lower on tests); and (2) college readiness index (CRI), based on how well schools prepare students for college-level work.
* However, in 2015, the threshold for determining performance was reduced from 1/2 to 1/3rd of a standard deviation about the average school; this was done to reduce year-over-year volatility of the rankings.
The median CRI, measured on a scale of 0 to 100, was 19.42 (it was 18.17, 14.8 and 16.3 in 2014, 2013 and 2012 - looks like a positive trend). A CRI of 100 means that all 12th graders took and passed at least 1 Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test.
There were 2,199 California high schools and over 2 million students enrolled during the 2012-2013 survey period. To be ranked in California, schools must receive either a gold (top 500 nationally) or silver (top 501 to 2,527 nationally) medal, representing schools with CRI values at or above the 19.42 median.
Rankings of local high schools in the Conejo Valley, Ventura County and adjacent areas and summarized in the table above. There were 17 local schools that received gold or silver medal status and thus were ranked nationally and in California.
Topping the local school rankings was Malibu High School at #68 in the state, leapfrogging Westlake High School (#76) and Foothill Technology High School (which was the top local area school the last two years). Rounding out the top 5 were Oak Park and Moorpark.
Overall, our local schools did great. Aggregate College Readiness scores jumped by 4 1/2% as compared to the previous year.
While the rankings and underlying detailed information are interesting and informative, before coming to any conclusions, do check out the detailed school information available at www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/california.