“Rankings of schools and districts, like those of restaurants, dry cleaners, or college football teams, make for interesting conversations. School rankings are based on a limited set of weighted factors that constantly change. They never capture completely the core values of the schools or even the real expectations of the community. Art, band, orchestra, chorus, athletics, drama, guidance support, student leadership and community service, for example, will never be found as a ranking metric. The truth is, we understand that the rankings are valued by members of community and we look at the rankings just like everyone else and like to see our name at the top of any list. While we don’t make decisions or determine what we do for our students solely for rankings; we strive for excellence in everything we do and to continue to learn from previous results. If we stay true to that, our rankings will reflect that quality.”  – Dr. John Brackett, Superintendent, Weston Public Schools

Annual rankings are published in order to compare districts and high schools across the nation and within specific geographic areas. The metrics used to determine rankings vary from publication to publication and even within a publication from year to year. All data are important. When ranked at the top, schools and districts can still find areas for growth and change. When unranked, as with the U.S. News and World Reports 2015, we look to the data to tell us more of the story.” – Pam Bator, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

“Three Questions:
1. How is the ranking determined
2. What is the source of its data?
3. Who is responsible for the construction of the ranking?
In addition everyone should understand that the underlying difference between any pair of consecutive ranks is usually different.” – Dr. John D. McKenzie, Professor Emeritus of Statistics, Babson College
2015
District 2 4
High School 3 54 7 Not Ranked 1 57
Middle School 3
Field School 10
Country School 11
Woodland School 6      
2014
High School 12 Not Ranked

2015 – 2nd – District

State/Nation/Other Inside I-495
Publication
Boston Magazine 
Best Public Schools 2015
“METHODOLOGY: We ranked the 125 school districts that lie primarily inside I-495. We used the most recent data available at press time from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For each district, statistician George Recck, director of the Math Resource Center at Babson College, crated a weighted average value based on the best available data for the district’s individual schools—including high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. Recck then compared each district’s data values with the overall average for all districts and applied a percentage weight to the standardized value for each, to create an aggregate score. Finally, the districts were ranked based on that statistical score.”
Notes
This ranking…
“rewarded schools that have smaller class sizes, lower student-to- teacher ratios, and higher rates of per-pupil spending, among other characteristics. In response to criticism of such rankings, we’ve also tried to deemphasize test results. We still take standardized test scores into account—but we reduced the weight of those scores within the overall rankings. We also changed the way we measure Advanced Placement scores. Previously, we considered only the percentage of Advanced Placement test takers who scored highly on the AP exam. This year, we also looked at the percentage of students in each school who took the exam in the first place.” (Boston Magazine)

2015 – 4th – District

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Niche
K-12 District Rankings
Notes
This ranking values (weight):
  • Academics (50%)
  • Health & Safety (10%)
  • Student Culture and Diversity (10%)
  • Survey Responses (10%)
  • Teachers Grade (10%)
  • Resources and Facilities Grade (5%)
  • Extracurriculars and Activities Grade (2.5%)
  • Sports and Fitness Grade (2.5%)
***
Student happiness “with their experience in all aspects including academics, teachers, health, safety, resources, facilities, extracurriculars, sports, and fitness”
***
Date sources: “…various government and public data sets, Niche’s own proprietary data, and…opinion-based survey responses…from current students, recent alumni, and parents.”
– Niche

2015 – 3rd – High School

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Newsweek
America’s Top High Schools
Notes
This ranking used data for “Graduation Rate,” “College Bound,” “Poverty,” and “College Readiness”:
  • College Enrollment Rate (25%)
  • Graduation Rate (20%)
  • Weighted AP/IB/Dual Enrollment composite (17.5%)
  • Weighted SAT/ACT composite (17.5%)
  • Student Retention (related to dropout rates) (10%)
  • Counselor:Student Ratio (10%)
– Newsweek

2015 – 54th – High School

State/Nation/Other US
Publication
Newsweek 
America’s Top High Schools
Notes
This ranking used data for “Graduation Rate,” “College Bound,” “Poverty,” and “College Readiness”:
  • College Enrollment Rate (25%)
  • Graduation Rate (20%)
  • Weighted AP/IB/Dual Enrollment composite (17.5%)
  • Weighted SAT/ACT composite (17.5%)
  • Student Retention (related to dropout rates) (10%)
  • Counselor:Student Ratio (10%)
– Newsweek

2015 – 7th – High School

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Niche
K-12 School Rankings
Notes
This ranking used data to create a weighted score:
  • Academics (50%)
  • Health & Safety (10%)
  • Student Culture and Diversity (10%)
  • Survey Responses (10%)
  • Teachers Grade (10%)
  • Resources and Facilities Grade (5%)
  • Extracurriculars and Activities Grade (2.5%)
  • Sports and Fitness Grade (2.5%)
***
Student happiness “with their experience in all aspects including academics, teachers, health, safety, resources, facilities, extracurriculars, sports, and fitness”
***
Data sources: “…various government and public data sets, Niche’s own proprietary data, and…opinion-based survey responses…from current students, recent alumni, and parents.”
– Niche

2015 – Not Ranked – High School

State/Nation/Other US
Publication
U.S. News and World Reports
Best Public Schools
Notes
This ranking valued those high schools whose student performance levels were more than 1/3 of a standard deviation above the projected performance. If the school’s overall performance was not more, it was not ranked.
Weston students performed above the projected performance level, but not above 1/3 of a standard deviation above. Therefore, WHS was not ranked.
Of note: Had WHS been moved to the next step, the performance of “disadvantaged students,” a very positive story could have been told:
100% of the disadvantaged students were proficient.
97.4% of our NON-disadvantaged students were proficient.
Our gap between these two categories is positive: the disadvantaged students outperformed the non-disadvantaged students.
The gap between the performance of our disadvantaged students and the state’s disadvantaged students is 29.7%.

2015 – 1st – High School

State/Nation/Other State
Publication
GoLocalWorcester
Notes
“Unlike previous year’s rankings, the 2015 ranking weighted spending per pupil at 10% (weighted at 15% in 2014) and 4-year graduation rate at 15% (weighted at 10% in 2014). This shift was done to make the results more closely tied to academic performance rather than budgetary increases.”
– GoLocalWorcester

2015 – 57th – High School

State/Nation/Other State
Publication
Boston Business Journal
Methodology: “Ranked by average percentage of proficient and advanced test takers across all three exams — English/Language Arts, Math and Science — taken by 10th grade students in the 2014/2015 academic year.”
– Boston Business Journal
Notes
This ranking is based upon 2015 MCAS data (ELA, Math, and Science) only.
Charter schools were included.
Vocational schools were not included.
– Boston Business Journal

2015 – 3rd – Middle School

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Niche
K-12 School Rankings
Notes
About this ranking:
“Each Survey Score used in each ranking represents a composite score of several different survey questions pertaining to that topic. Of the dozens of statistical factors that go into each ranking, no one factor accounts for a majority of the overall weight.”
– Niche

2015 – 10th – Field School

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Niche
K-12 School Rankings
Notes
About this ranking:
“Each Survey Score used in each ranking represents a composite score of several different survey questions pertaining to that topic. Of the dozens of statistical factors that go into each ranking, no one factor accounts for a majority of the overall weight.”
– Niche

2015 – 11th – Country School

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Niche
K-12 School Rankings
Notes
About this ranking:
“Each Survey Score used in each ranking represents a composite score of several different survey questions pertaining to that topic. Of the dozens of statistical factors that go into each ranking, no one factor accounts for a majority of the overall weight.”
– Niche

2015 – 6th – Woodland School

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Niche
K-12 School Rankings
Notes
About this ranking:
“Each Survey Score used in each ranking represents a composite score of several different survey questions pertaining to that topic. Of the dozens of statistical factors that go into each ranking, no one factor accounts for a majority of the overall weight.”
– Niche

2014 – 12th – High School

State/Nation/Other MA
Publication
Boston Magazine 
Best Public Schools
“METHODOLOGY: We gathered the most recent available data at press time on public schools from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (doe.mass.edu). Private school information was provided by those schools. We also consulted town and school websites if necessary. Statistician George Recck, the director of the Math Resource Center at Babson College, calculated the mean scores for each category, and then ranked the schools based on a weighted average of each school data point’s difference from the mean, using mean values when data was unavailable. Only public schools within the Greater Boston I-495 boundary were included.”
– Boston Magazine
Notes
This ranking used data to create a weighted score:
  • Average class size
  • Student-Teacher ratio
  • Per-Pupil spending
  • Avg. MCAS: Reading, Math, Science
  • Avg. SAT, Reading, Writing, Math
  • Dollars spent per SAT point
  • % scoring 3-5 on AP exams*
  • Graduation Rate
  • % to college
* In this ranking, Boston Magazine only valued the % scoring 3-5 on AP exams. In other years, the % of students enrolled in AP classes were also valued.

2014 – Not Ranked – High School

State/Nation/Other US
Publication
U.S. News and World Reports
Best Public Schools
Notes
The categories reported as having weight in the ranking:
  • Student-teacher ratio
  • College readiness
  • Mathematics
  • English
College readiness: “U.S. News calculated a College Readiness Index based on exam participation rates and percentages of students passing at least one exam.” – U.S. News