Making The Grade

New rankings put Dallas-area high schools at the top of the class

New rankings put Dallas-area high schools at the top of the class

There's a certain pride that comes with seeing your high school on a list of the best in the country. Even decades after commencement, seeing your alma mater's name shimmy up that list can be thrilling. Equally as thrilling is seeing the high school your child attends — or will attend — applauded for exceptional education standards. 

According to a new report from The Washington Post, the top 100 most challenging schools in the country include a handful of Texas schools. Dallas leads the way with three schools ranked in the top five. Uplift Education North Hills Preparatory in Irving was No. 2; Talented and Gifted and Science/Engineering Magnet, both in Dallas, ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

Although the No. 1 spot went to American Indian Public Charter in Oakland, California, six of the top 20 slots belonged to Texas schools. Carnegie Vanguard marked Houston's first high school on the list, coming in at No. 11.

Only one school in Austin managed to crack the list: The Liberal Arts and Science Academy, at No. 82. Though the school has previously been ranked No. 14 in Texas and No. 68 in the nation by the U.S. World & News Report, these newest rankings examined different criteria than the predecessor.

The Washington Post's Jay Mathews crafted the "challenge index," a formula that examines a high school's total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests as well as the number of seniors who graduated every year. 

Researchers focused on how schools prepare average students for higher education. "The Challenge Index is designed to identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests," Jay Mathews said.

Graduates throwing caps in the air
Just how well are high schools preparing Texas teens for higher education? Courtesy photo