Every year, the U.S. News & World Report publication issues the results of its Nationwide “Best High Schools” rankings. To come up with the rankings, US News focuses on four major indicators:
- Student / Teacher ratio
- College readiness – as measured by Advance Placement (AP®) or International Baccaleaurate (IB) passing rates
- Proficiency in Geometry
- Proficiency in Reading
This year, US News reviewed over 21,000 high schools across the United States. Among these, 96 high schools in Virginia (out of 347) made the rankings.
Top High School in Virginia
The top school in Virginia (#1) is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), which is a “Governor School” (that means that it doesn’t belong to a school district).
Specifically, TJ is located within the Fairfax County Public Schools District but it accepts qualified students from districts beyond Fairfax County. TJ has been on the US News list of Best High Schools for many years, most of those as the #1 school. This year, it’s ranked at #2 Nationally.
Top High School in Fairfax County
The second school in Virginia (#2) is George Mason High School, which is the only high school within the boundaries of The City of Falls Church Public School District. The City of Falls Church is within Fairfax County, but it’s an independent city with its own local government and school district.
Top High Schools in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)
Overall, 13 high schools in Fairfax County Public Schools (from a total of 24) made the rankings.
Seven Fairfax County high schools made the Top 10:
#3 Marshall High School
#4 Mclean High School
#5 Robinson Secondary School
#6 Langley High School
#7 Woodson High School
#8 Madison High School
#9 Oakton High School
In the Top 20-ish
#11 Lake Braddock Secondary School
#12 West Springfield High School
#13 Fairfax High School
#15 Chantilly High School
#16 Westfield High School
#22 Falls Church High School
If you’d like to see where each of these districts is located, log into the Fairfax County School Boundaries Map.
On the map you can also see the profiles of each High School boundary, complete with a compilation of Elementary and Middle school scores, plus average cost of Real Estate in the boundary.
Image from USNews.com. Map data Google®
The US News rankings are fairly crude and not necessarily accurate. Marshall’s ranking is based, in particular, on the assumption by US News that a full 99% of Marshall students take at least one IB class. No one that I’ve spoken to believes that is actually the case. AP and IB participation at schools in NoVa generally range from 50 to 80%, so I’d be surprised if Marshall gets all but a handful of its students to take a college-level IB course.
You are correct. I checked Marshall High School’s VA School Report Card from the Virginia Department of Education. The participation for IB tests at Marshall for 2010-2011 was much less than 99%.
Have you downloaded The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA? In the first report “How to Choose the Right School”, I compiled a table with more rankings (not just US News, but also SAT scores, and “The Challenge Index”). Hopefully, this will give a better picture for people selecting schools.
Thanks for your note.
How is Westfield high school ? I know it’s ranking is pretty low ? We wanted to buy house in herndon but are hesitating due to the school boundary