Kennedy is the top-ranked Iowa high school on the U.S. News and World Report list of America’s BEST HIGH SCHOOLS for the third year in a row. Washington ranked fifth, and Jefferson is 14th among Iowa’s 340 public high schools. All three were Silver Award winners; there were 16 Silver Award winners in Iowa.
The selection process was based on the principles that a great high school must serve all it students well, not just those that are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes across a range of performance indicators.
The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 21,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. To produce the 2015 Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News and World Report teamed with RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm.
A three-step process determined the Best High Schools. The first step determined whether each school’s students were performing better than statistically expected for students in their state in science and math on the state tests (Iowa Assessments for Iowa).
For schools passing the first step, the second step assessed whether the school’s disadvantaged students (Black, Hispanic and low-income) were outperforming disadvantaged students in the state.
Schools that made it through the first two steps became eligible to be judged nationally on the final step --college-readiness performance. College-readiness was determined by the number of students who took Advanced Placement tests (or International Baccalaureate tests) and how well the students did on those tests.