May 15, 2024 - News

Iowa's highest-performing high schools

Map showing the share of public high schools in the top 10% nationally by state from U.S. News and World Report’s 2024 analysis of 18,000 public high schools. D.C. had the most, with 24.2%. Wyoming had the least with zero, and Oklahoma followed with 0.5%. The average was 8.4%.
Data: U.S. News and World Report; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Iowa has among the country's lowest share of best-performing public schools, per U.S. News & World Report's recently released 2024 Best High School rankings.

By the numbers: Just over 2% of public high schools in Iowa are in the top 10% nationally, according to the analysis of 18,000 public high schools.

  • Iowa had the eighth-lowest share in the nation, behind all surrounding states except South Dakota where fewer than 2% made the top list.

The fine print: U.S. News and World Report defines "best high schools" as those with students who have "demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in math, reading and science state assessments, earned qualifying scores on an array of college-level exams, and graduated in high proportions."

State of play: The top three in the state are West Senior in Iowa City and Gilbert and Pella high schools.

  • Among the top-ranked metro high schools is Ankeny (6th), Adel-De Soto- Minburn (7th) and Valley (11th).

Zoom in: In DSM, Roosevelt ranked 47th and Hoover 108th out of more than 315 in Iowa.

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