Ventura County Schools in U.S. News 2013 Ranking of Nation's Top High Schools

This past April, U.S. News & World Report published its 4th ranking of the nation's best public high schools. The study covered nearly 22,000 public high schools across the country.

Schools again were ranked based on: (1) how well students tested in state-level reading and math proficiency, factoring in disadvantaged students, who tend to score lower on tests; and (2) college readiness, based on how well schools prepare students for college-level work via Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.

The median college readiness, measured on a scale of 0 to 100, was 14.8 (it was 16.3 in 2012). A readiness index of 100 means that all 12th graders took and passed at least 1 AP or IB test. (More on the methodology)

There were 2,039 California high schools and nearly 2 million students enrolled during the 2010-2011 survey period. To be ranked in California, schools must receive either a gold (top 500 nationally) or silver (top 501 to 2,290 nationally) medal. 501 Callifornia schools received gold or silver medals.

Rankings of local high schools in the Conejo Valley, Ventura County and adjacent areas and summarized in the table below. There were 15 local schools that received gold or silver medal status and thus were ranked nationally and in California.

We compared the 2013 rankings and ratings with those published last year. I will say once again that I find the ranking methodolgy to be perplexing. For example, Royal High has college readiness and academic performance scores of 21.3 and 775 and was not nationally ranked, yet Fillmore High and Buena High received lower scores, and were nationally ranked. Why? Because the national rankings use "risk adjusted" indices to factor in an "achievement gap" of disadvantaged/minority students. So do take that into account when reviewing the information.

Foothill Technology High School in Ventura leaped to the top spot in local area rankings and 38th in the state of California, driven by a 22% jump in college readiness scores. Westlake High stayed steady while Malibu High dropped from 1st to 3rd in the rankings due to a drop in college readiness...though still a solid 74th in the state!

Oak Park High showed a huge improvement in college readiness that boosted its ranking to 75th in California! Calabasas High narrowly missed the top 100. The overall mean scores for the 23 schools on this list improved from a year ago, from 28.3 to 30.1 in college readiness and 794 to 803 in academic performance. Way to go, local students!

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