Best Fairfax County High Schools – Ultimate Ranking (2011-2012)

Finding The Best Schools among Fairfax County High Schools is tough. Should you use SAT scores? Or SOLs? How about using The Ultimate Ranking?

Choosing The Best Schools is a very personal thing – like choosing a running shoe

Do you like your running shoes cushioned, or minimalistic?  Or do you choose by them by color? Most people, before they choose their running shoes, they research ratings to help them get a more objective point of view on which the best ones might be.

Choosing a school is like choosing a running shoe

Choosing among Fairfax County High Schools is a matter of personal preference (like choosing shoes)

Like when choosing a shoe, choosing the best school requires research

Are you partial to large schools with lots of resources, or are you more comfortable with small, community-fostering schools?   Or perhaps there is a sport program that is of the utmost importance to your selection. Or a foreign language.

Regardless of personal preference, most people research to find the best schools first and then narrow down their choice based on their special program requirements.

And what they mean by best schools is, generally, using some kind of rating or score to compare the schools using an objective measure.

Choosing the best school using scores can be helpful… sometimes

Choosing one score to use to find “the best school” can be tricky, especially when comparing Fairfax County high schools.  Should you use the average SAT scores by school?  Or perhaps the Standards of Learning (SOLs)?  Or, maybe The Washington Post’s Challenge Index®?

In the past several weeks, we have published Fairfax County high schools rankings using these scoring methods.

And the feedback has been quite positive – except that, when faced with more than one ranking, it’s difficult again to compare them all and come up with the simple answer to:  “What are theBest Fairfax County High Schools?”

Well, fear no more.  Below you can find the Ultimate Fairfax County High Schools Ranking©

In The Ultimate Fairfax County High Schools Ranking© table, we have taken into consideration the three most popular scoring systems**:

  • SATs
  • SOL,
  • The Challenge Index®

What we did is ranked all the Fairfax County High Schools 3 times; once per score, and we assigned them points per ranking. Then, we averaged the resulting points per school and came up with The Ultimate Ranking©. Here is the result of The Ultimate Fairfax County High Schools Ranking (2011-2012 edition):

Fairfax County
High Schools
1 Thomas Jefferson* Fairfax
2 Langley Fairfax
3 George Mason Falls Church
4 McLean Fairfax
5 Madison Fairfax
6 Oakton Fairfax
7 W.T.Woodson Fairfax
8 Lake Braddock Sec Fairfax
9 West Springfield Fairfax
10 Fairfax Fairfax
11 Robinson Sec Fairfax
12 Chantilly Fairfax
13 Marshall Fairfax
14 Herndon Fairfax
15 Centreville Fairfax
16 Westfield Fairfax
17 South County Sec Fairfax
18 South Lakes Fairfax
19 West Potomac Fairfax
20 Annandale Fairfax
21 Hayfield Sec Fairfax
22 Falls Church Fairfax
23 Edison Fairfax
24 Stuart Fairfax
25 T.C.Williams Alexandria
26 Lee Fairfax
27 Mount Vernon Fairfax

* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology has a select admissions process, and it is not a neighborhood school. We have included it on this table for reference and completeness.

The downside of The Ultimate Fairfax County High Schools Ranking©

The downside of using an “averaged” ranking is that it dilutes each of the rankings themselves.  Sure, #1 & #2 might be the overall best, but are they actually meeting your needs, or are they meeting many needs at once (some which might not be as useful to your particular situation)?

To solve this dilemma, it’s a good idea to analyze each of the components of The Ultimate Ranking and decide for yourself what matters most- is it SOL scores, or is it how much the school challenges the majority of its students?  Or are you mostly interested on practical results (such as SAT scores)?

You can find each of these rankings on How to Choose the Right School, which is the first download of The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA.

In summary

  • Choosing a school is a matter of personal preference (just like choosing running shoes)
  • To get an objective point to start from, it’s useful to rank the schools
  • But having several ranking options can be confusing
  • We created the Ultimate Ranking© that takes into consideration all the others, to help you make your choice
  • To see individual rankings, subscribe to The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA.

The Ultimate Ranking Interactive Table

This content is for members only.

What’s Next

How to choose the right school

How to Choose the Right School (2012-2013)

We have recently published the latest version of How to Choose the Right School (2011-2012), which is the first download on The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA.  This new version has important updates, including a new table comparing all scores for all of the Fairfax County high schools, plus several other high schools in Loudoun and Arlington Counties.

The new download also includes a members-only link to an interactive table with The Ultimate Ranking©, so that you can sort the table in many different ways and help you choose the right school for your needs.


If you haven’t subscribed yet, why wait?

Downloading The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA is free, and you’ll get not only this report, but also the Fairfax County Home Affordability Map, and detailed information about each Fairfax County High School boundary.

** For a quick overview of each of these scoring methods, be sure to download the FREE No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA

Photo by fleur-design on flickr

2 Responses to “Best Fairfax County High Schools – Ultimate Ranking (2011-2012)”

  1. JeffLub July 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm #


    I am overwhelmed by the work you have done and its presentation. What great value you are providing people.
    I hope you don’t mind that I did log on to take a look. Are you available this week or next to meet for “coffee”?

    Best Regards,

    • Marina Brito July 15, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      Hi Jeff,

      Lovely to see you here.

      I’m glad that you find value in my research. :)

      Let’s chat offline and get together.


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