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Texas, Arizona high schools dominate new U.S. News rankings

BASIS Oro Valley students participate in a 9th grade Advanced Placement Chemistry Lab. BASIS Oro Valley is ranked No. 6 in the new U.S. News and World Report rankings of the nation’s best high schools and took top honors in the Washington Post’s 2016 America’s Most Challenging High Schools list. (Photo by Photo by Dan Williams, Kalare Studios)

High schools in the Southwest dominate the 2016 U.S. News and World Report rankings of the country’s best high schools, taking six of the top 10 spots in the rankings released Tuesday.

Texas and Arizona high schools earned the top four rankings, and the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology a Fairfax County, Va. magnet school, was in the fifth spot nationally.

The news magazine collected data on more than 21,500 schools for the report, which for the first time included graduation rates as a factor in the rankings.

Here are some of the factors that U.S. News & World Report used to come up with its 2016 list of best U.S. high schools. (Video: Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post, Photo: Jeff Haller/The Washington Post)

[See the new 2016 America’s Most Challenging High Schools rankings from The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews]

An analysis by U.S. News found that the nation’s top 6,000 high schools have graduation rates at least 15 percent higher than all others.

The top honors went to the School for the Gifted and Talented in Dallas for the fifth year in a row, while two schools in Arizona — BASIS Scottsdale and BASIS Tucson North — were ranked second and third. Another Dallas institution, the School of Science and Engineering Magnet, took fourth.

[BASIS, one of America’s top charter school networks, seeks new turf: China]

Montgomery County had the ranking’s top two high schools in Maryland: Walt Whitman (No. 63) and Winston Churchill (No. 94). The District’s School Without Walls was the city’s top-ranked school, at No. 88. In addition to Thomas Jefferson High, Fairfax County had Virginia’s second-ranked school, with McLean High landing at No. 108.

Overall, the magazine found that Maryland, Connecticut and California had the most public high schools that best prepared students for college and careers.

On a list of the best schools that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, U.S. News ranked High Technology High School in Lincroft, N.J. the best for the second year in a row while, TJ, as the Fairfax County magnet school is called, came in third.

From the U.S. News rankings:

2016 Best High Schools National Rankings
1. School for the Talented and Gifted (Texas)
2. BASIS Scottsdale (Ariz.)
3. BASIS Tucson North (Ariz.)
4. School of Science and Engineering Magnet (Texas)
5. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Va.)
6. BASIS Oro Valley (Ariz.)
7. Pine View School (Fla.)
8. Academic Magnet High School (S.C.)
9. International Academy (Mich.)
10. Carnegie Vanguard High School (Texas)
2016 Best STEM High Schools
1. High Technology High School (N.J.)
2. Early College at Guilford (N.C.)
3. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Va.)
4. BASIS Scottsdale (Ariz.)
5. Whitney High School (Calif.)
6. BASIS Tucson North (Ariz.)
7. Raleigh Charter High School (N.C.)
8. International Community School (Wash.)
9. Academy of Allied Health and Science (N.J.)18.19.
10. Troy High School (Calif.)
2016 State Rankings (percent of schools with gold or silver medals in the rankings)
1. Maryland (28.9%)
2. Connecticut (24.9%)
3. California (23.8%)
4. Florida (21.4%)
5. Massachusetts (21.2%)
6. Washington, D.C. (19.4%)
7. Maine (19.3%)
8. Utah (19%)
9. Rhode Island (17.9%)
10. New York (17.8%)
11. Ohio (17.6%)
12. Vermont (17%)
12. Virginia (17%)
14. New Hampshire (16.5%)
15. New Jersey (16.3%)
16. Delaware (16.2%)
17. Wisconsin (15%)
18. Illinois (14.5%)
19. Washington (14%)
20. Nevada (13.8%)