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This Arizona high school landed the top spot in national U.S. News ranking

A charter school in Peoria landed the top spot in a new ranking of the best public high schools across the nation.

BASIS Peoria was ranked first in the nation on of best public high schools, rising from 12th place in last year’s ranking.

Twelve Arizona high schools in all were included in the top 100 spots of the ranking.

They included 10 schools in the BASIS charter school network — Peoria (first), Oro Valley (24th), Scottsdale (32nd), Tucson (33rd), Ahwatukee (34th), Phoenix (45th), Mesa (56th), Prescott (75th), Chandler (84th) and Flagstaff (94th) — and two district schools: University High School in the Tucson Unified School District (81st) and University High School in the Tolleson Union High School District (83rd).

BASIS Peoria and BASIS Oro Valley were among the top five charter schools in the country, and BASIS Peoria and BASIS Chandler were among the top five STEM high schools, according to the rankings.

The 2024 rankings, which were released Tuesday, evaluated nearly 18,000 public schools across the country.

U.S. News & World Report also ranked the top schools in the metro Phoenix area. The top ten included six BASIS schools and University High School in Tolleson, along with Arizona College Prep in the Chandler Unified School District, Gilbert Classical Academy in the Gilbert Unified School District and Phoenix Union Bioscience in the Phoenix Union High School District.

BASIS Peoria ranked first in the nation ranking of best public high schools.

How were the rankings determined?

According to U.S. News & World Report, the rankings took into account six measures using data from the 2021-22 school year. Each measure was assigned a specific weight.

  • College readiness (30%): This indicator took into consideration the number of students who took at least one Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test by the end of their senior year as well as the number of students who took and earned a qualifying score — an AP score of 3 or higher, or an IB score of 4 or higher — on at least one AP or IB test by the end of their senior year.
  • College curriculum breadth (10%): This indicator took into consideration the percentage of 12th graders who took and earned qualifying scores on multiple AP or IB exams.
  • State assessment proficiency (20%): This indicator took into consideration student proficiency in math, reading and science on the statewide assessment.
  • State assessment performance (20%): This indicator compared state assessment scores with what U.S. News “predicted for a school with its demographic characteristics in its state.” U.S. News said that schools performing best on this indicator are those whose “assessment scores far exceeded U.S. News’ modeled expectations.”
  • Underserved student performance (10%): This indicator evaluated Black, Hispanic and low-income students’ scores on state assessments compared to the “average for nonunderserved students among schools in the same state.”
  • Graduation rate (10%): This indicator looked at the four-year graduation rates among students who started high school during the 2018-19 school year.

Feeding students:

Top Arizona schools serve fewer students with disabilities, Hispanic students, English language learners

The top-ranked Arizona schools in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report’s ranking serve disproportionately low numbers of students with disabilities, English language learners and Hispanic students, according to The Arizona Republic’s analysis of state Department of Education data from the 2023-24 school year.

Across the 12 Arizona schools that made U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 high schools, students with disabilities made up less than three percent of the student population, compared to around 13% statewide. Hispanic students made up around 16% of students, compared to around 48% of students statewide, and English language learners made up less than two percent, compared to around 9.5% across Arizona.

The Republic’s analysis of the 2022-2023 U.S. News and World Report high school rankings found , with more white and Asian students than the average Arizona school. In the 2024 rankings, Asian students made up around 43.6% of the students across the 12 Arizona schools in the top 100, compared to around three percent of students across the state. White students made up around 29%, compared to around 34% across the state.

BASIS Peoria, which captured the top spot in the country, diverged demographically from the public school district serving that area. In the Peoria Unified School District, the student population was around 38.5% Hispanic, 47% white and three percent Asian. BASIS Peoria was about 70% Asian, 15% white and six percent Hispanic.

Tolleson Union’s University High School had a higher percentage of Hispanic students and low-income students than the state average.

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