Best Public Schools in Boston 2014 – Top 50 Ranking

Our exclusive ranking of the top public schools in Greater Boston.

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We chased down and analyzed a dizzying array of data—test scores, student-to-teacher ratios, graduation rates—to produce proprietary rankings of both public and private high schools in Greater Boston. Below is our exclusive ranking of the top 50 best public schools. (For more on how we determined the rankings, see our methodology below.)

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To see all of our 2014 Best Schools coverage—including sortable charts and rankings of area public and private schools—go to bostonmagazine.com/schools.


School
Rank
Enrollment
Avg. Class Size
Student-Teacher Ratio
Per-Pupil Spending
Avg. MCAS, Reading
Avg. MCAS, Math
Avg. MCAS, Science
Avg. SAT, Reading
Avg. SAT, Writing
Avg. SAT, Math
Dollars Spent Per SAT Point
% Scoring 3-5 on AP Exams
College Advisors
Grad Rate (%)
% to College
Dover-Sherborn High School16471311.5:1$16,4341009999608617618$8.9298.6498.191
Lexington High School2201419.312.6:1$16,726999796626623656$8.7892.41097.485.3
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School3198919.716.1:1$13,697999897613616649$7.2997.91097.990.9
Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School496919.411.5:1N/A1001009859559064095.5598.691.9
Newton South High School5175916.112.4:1$16,400999689606615636$8.83941398.184.5
Wellesley High School6138114.612.3:1$15,0851009882605606611$8.2892.8898.686.4
Wayland High School785615.612.2:1$15,902999589587592617$8.8590.9699.189.4
Sharon High School8119916.312.9:1$14,527999793589590610$8.1293.8697.188.7
Westford Academy9167519.813.9:1$11,449999796589577601$6.4893.1898.692.7
Winchester High School10115616.714.0:1$11,954999695579585609$6.7485.7698.986.6
Medfield High School119081813.9:1$11,830989693577579605$6.7287.7599.292.4
Weston High School1278618.610.4:1$19,915999783603610622$10.8578.8596.689
Belmont High School13111818.316.8:1$12,259999794586581602$6.9393.2598.487.5
Needham High School14154518.215.1:1$13,742999792585580595$7.8196.3897.888
Concord Carlisle Regional High School15122418.113.5:1$20,525999596598592617$11.3697.799887.2
Boston Latin School16233224.920.2:1$17,283100100100626611632$9.2580.5798.690.6
Westwood High School1790915.613.7:1$14,197989693570565592$8.2291.1598.287.7
Hingham High School18113015.614.0:1$11,4151009594553560569$6.7992.5696.787.9
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School19159019.913.5:1$17,340989381589594620$9.6293.5898.786.6
Brookline High School2018191412.6:1$16,626989387591590609$9.2994.31493.582.1
Bedford High School2191513.712.0:1$16,6001009487567565579$9.7095695.786.1
Andover High School2217941615.0:1$13,836999888564567588$8.0580.78.596.691.2
Duxbury High School23103719.113.5:1$11,825999794551557574$7.0381.5698.888
Hopkinton High School24112417.514.5:1$12,472989593558555575$7.3981.6699.289.5
Georgetown High School254101311.9:1$10,511999193540534550$6.4797.4296.989.2
Newton North High School26194816.612.0:1$16,400979288573579602$9.3591.81595.482
Manchester Essex Regional High School2747715.512.1:1$13,479989696554553570$8.048739385.8
Masconomet Regional High School28134516.317.2:1$13,094989895553550570$7.8380.3898.791.9
Norwell High School2961514.512.8:1$12,074999491532541546$7.4675.9498.990.7
Reading Memorial High School30128116.814.3:1$11,051989490548543562$6.6981.6696.692.6
Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School3169718.112.6:1$14,759999594556554553$8.8769.1495.386.9
Holliston High School3282815.912.3:1$12,198979190535534556$7.5192.8496.288.5
Arlington High School33122615.417.1:1$12,603989289577576573$7.3083.2692.986.6
Ashland High School3472514.715.1:1$12,183999588530520569$7.5384.6494.990.5
Nashoba Regional High School35101016.4$12,686959287555546579$7.5589.2695.188.9
Lynnfield High School3662615.912.5:1$12,215999293513516553$7.7287.7399.485
Marblehead High School379891413.2:1$12,998969288548552553$7.8686.4496.788.7
Natick High School3815111814.7:1$13,146989391550537557$8.0086.9795.388
Cohasset High School3939018.113.1:1$13,5241009581547544567$8.1694.4295.690.5
Newburyport High School4072916.712.2:1$13,622979487536535551$8.4083.1495.290.4
Foxborough High School4184913.412.9:1$13,635958890543540556$8.3286.7597.280.9
Mansfield High School4213961514.6:1$11,166989385529521552$6.9779.9793.886.9
Scituate High School4392716.615.1:1$12,311999686533545547$7.5874.7393.489.5
Chelmsford High School44159416.514.3:1$11,751989374537539562$7.1782.6795.788.8
Medway High School4580516.115.5:1$11,775979483527526546$7.3672.5398.289.4
North Reading High School4672320.412.3:1$12,498989191547546577$7.4856.2392.487.3
North Attleboro High School47123614.716.0:1$10,139979294531516538$6.4088.6595.282
Pentucket Regional High School4877415.513.5:1$11,821978883548536554$7.2270.4592.783.9
Pioneer Charter School of Science4935317.911.2:1$14,1781009598514509566$8.9250.4195.782.4
Rockport High School5030114.111.5:1$15,484999587528514526$9.8869.6290.485.5

Correction, September 2, 11:30 a.m.: A previous version of this chart excluded Chelmsford High School. We regret the error.

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Correction, September 10, 5:30 p.m.: A previous version of this chart listed the incorrect enrollment for Cohasset High School. Their enrollment is 390. We regret the error.


Methodology:

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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.

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Additional research by Victoria Baena, Ariana Igneri, Megan Moore, Shina Neo, Katie Reilly, and Alex Stoller.


  • kaitlyn

    Perhaps you should re-name this “Best Suburban High Schools in Eastern MA” given that only one of these is even in Boston.

    • mplo

      That’s a good idea, kaitlyn. Well said!

    • Axp

      It says greater boston

  • theclumsyjeweler

    You guys do understand that only one of these schools is IN Boston right? And most are not in “Greater Boston” either? This is really misleading.

    • spanky

      This is how Boston Magazine has done it for years. I agree it is misleading but you’ll get used to it.

    • Brian

      Almost all of these schools are actually in “Greater Boston.” Perhaps you’re confusing it with the “Boston Metro.”

      • theclumsyjeweler

        Gotcha. So only the actual HEADLINE is misleading, not the follow up portion. Cool. Let’s keep providing misleading information to make Boston Public Schools (all three words are in the title of this piece) look like they are performing better than they actually are.

    • Axp

      Greater boston is a combination of all the subregions in the area before the 495. Metro boston is the principle cities like Cambridge, Quincy, etc. so greater boston does in fact represent those towns

  • colorblindguy

    Looks like the college advisor number is subject to interpretation. All counselors advise to some extent, but I think the intent was to have specialists–where advising about college is the sole responsibility.

  • spanky

    Newton South and Newton North finally separated for rankings. #5 vs #26. This is a huge difference. I guess Newton North was bringing down South’s numbers for too long and Boston Magazine finally clarifies for us

    • Claire Wadlington

      Newton North is the Vocational Tech School for all of Newton, which is likely why its % to college and SAT scores are lower. In that sense it isn’t comparable to most of these schools as many towns send their kids to community colleges like Minuteman Tech for Voc Tech programs. It is always “interesting” to look at these rankings, but the methodology of ranking by MCAS and SAT scores doesn’t speak only to teaching – it also relates to the the student community (education level of parents, for example) and with respect to SATs, the number of kids who take prep classes. With respect to Boston Latin, obviously an excellent school, the student population is made up of kids who have “tested in”.

  • 143yankee

    Cohasset High is reported inaccurately you are reporting student numbers from the combined middle and high schools. The average graduating class for the last 15 years is less than 100. Will get and add numbers after recompile

  • 143yankee

    look at your data source again there are 351 middle school students at Cohasset High School

  • christineboston

    Boston Latin per pupil spending is much lower; the amount listed $17,283 is probably the amount per student in Boston overall which includes high special education and transportation costs among other things that do not impact Boston Latin School. A few years ago the amount per pupil at Boston Latin was a little over $4,000.

  • The Stub

    Looks like Boston Magazine has finally fixed the Per Pupil Spending Bias that usually resulted in Cambridge placing in the top of the rankings. Thank you. Let’s see if other School Ranking sources follow suit.

  • The Stub

    While I guess they deserve to be here, I don’t always trust the information coming from Charter Schools. I have heard that some have been known to manipulate results. Still, it is telling, the number of Charter Schools at the very bottom of the list…

    • Mike

      “I have heard that…”

      In the history of mankind nothing intelligent ever follows those words. Thanks for reminding us!

    • Rosie14

      Any school can manipulate numbers.

      • Marissa

        Yes they manipulate, just like they do for safest city, or another category.

  • fmac

    The data is not accurate for some schools as you are comparing different number of grades within various schools. The data for Foxboro Charter is incorrect by far! The total students includes the whole school from K-12. If you are going to report and post information, please get your facts straight. Thanks.

    • Carter Williams

      Or, Foxboro Charter isn’t as good of a school as you thought

      • fmac

        The point is that the data for this article is not accurate – has nothing to do with where one school ranks. There are several schools on this list and they have different grades that attend those school so you are not comparing apples to apples.

  • disqus_2yCt8DllPg

    Yup get to a good collage and party

    • capester p

      collage?

  • capester p

    It’s pretty clear they didn’t research all schools outside 495. AMAS in Worcester is high on the list as it should be. Somehow Westboro, Algonquin and Bromfield don’t make the cut? Wrong….

    • Axp

      The name even says greater boston. They researched exactly as stated in the title, that it is a list for the greater Boston.

      • capester p

        N Attleboro borders RI. That’s not greater Boston.

        • Axp

          Sadly that is considered greater boston. Everything easy of 495 and everything south and north from nh to ri

          • capester p

            Your comment states that people who live past 495 should stop crying because they are too far away. Your subsequent comment states that North Attleboro qualifies. Well North Attleboro is west of 495. So, which is it? How is it that Bromfield (Harvard, MA)) was a top 10 school last year, and Westboro was #17, and yet they are not even mentioned this year, even after they regularly make top NATIONAL lists? How is it that AMAS suddenly gets to #4 after not even being on the list last year? Did things change change that drastically? No. Did the criterion change that much? No. This what people are talking about. It’s the ambiguity of the geographic region and criterion used. Sure, it’s only a list. If you’re going to publish a list, be prepared for people to critique it.

          • Axp

            Okay! I don’t feel like reading what you wrote. So let’s just say you win! Ha I think that is all you want to hear so. You win.

    • Mom

      AMSA is not in Worcester. It’s in Marlborough which straddles 495.

  • Axp

    It’s funny to me how so many parents on here get so angry not to see there child’s school on here. And find any reason to blame the Arthur of this article instead of your school system. Also it’s just a list, who honestly cares. Also if you don’t live near the greater boston stop complaining that you don’t see your child’s school up here. If you live passed the 495 or too far south or north stop crying.

    • Capn Crunch

      Their*. Author*. Past*.
      If you went to one of these schools, maybe these parents should be glad that their kid doesn’t.

  • Capn Crunch

    I think regret is a pretty strong word to use for acknowledging an error.

  • tweak

    Wait a minute….why should we trust these rankings at all since they redacted the private school listings altogether? Has there been a any discussion about the methodology, etc. with this set of data? I think we may need to scrutinize these hallowed rankings more closely. Some folks take this info very seriously and make major decisions based on them, e.g. In which town to purchase a home, etc.

    • SheldonFromBBNOT

      I agree. 2 years back Littleton was ranked 26th and I bought home there. This year it is not even in top 50!!

      • Steve

        Littleton did not make the cut for the top 175 schools, According to this list, Brockton High and Taunton High are better school systems than Littleton. What ever methodology they used is seriously flawed.

    • Dan Moreno

      PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no

  • williamll

    1. Class size and expenditure: The Weston school is paying their teachers too high, even though their teachers tend to hold advanced degrees from ivy league colleges. Those ivy league teachers do deliver SAT scores pretty well but not good college admission records in recent years (thanks to Boston Magazein’s poor ranking). Teachers are unionized, is there anyway to fight them? 2. AP: Weston high school allows anyone who is willing to join the AP class to join, without any exception. As a result, many lower level students join the AP classes and result in a lower average score. Some teachers are much more strict, e.g., the World History AP class teacher. She is so strict that the average grade in her class is C+ with very few B/A, then the whole class of kids get 5 in final AP exams! But not all teachers are like that. From a poor Weston father whose daughter ranked 4th in her class with a straight A in all courses (of course all 5 in AP courses) and almost perfect SAT scores and top awards in the country’s debate competition and the state’s crew competition, but could not get into any “good colleges” in the country.

    • Slobbington von Slob

      If she’s anything like you it sounds like she could stand to get knocked down a peg. Might make her better off in the long run.

    • R. L. Lo

      Many errors in your comment here. As a Weston resident and parent of 3 children who have been through the Weston public school system from K-12, I believe I know from whence I speak. No, not “anyone” can take any AP course they desire. FAR from it. This is a line of bull that the school committee, superintendent’s office and HS staff like to parrot so they can spin their poor rankings in their favor. There are several AP teachers who are horrible at teaching the material and preparing students for the test. THIS is why the scores are low. We have an administration tht doesn;t care to address the real issue. THE TEACHING. WE ALL KNOW WHO these weak teachers are and try our best to have our children avoid those classes. After having my youngest recently graduate, and my oldest graduate a few years ago, I see how the HS has changed and devolved. It is not the same academic, nurturing and supportive environment it once was. A weak superintendent ( the SC never conducted an outside search but instead promoted a veteran teacher) who has basically shunned parents and appointed some very weak teachers to administrative posts is the main issue. The feeling amongst parents in town is that she promoted teachers internally for her own job security. I am sick of my tax money going to pay under-qualified faculty to get their advanced degrees while working in our town. They never conduct searches for open positions, they simply appoint a teacher or staff member internally. In many cases, some without the necessary experience. The modus operandi seems to be less is more, and don’t hire anyone who will make any changes (though the school desperately needs change). They can’t even hire a new superintendent. Recently, they appointed a new Vice-Superintendent of curriculum and Instruction who had just a handful of years experience as an elementary teacher and an elementary coordinator. No search was conducted, no parent or stakeholder involvement, no advanced degree, no experience as a principal or anything outside of elementary education. It happens all of the time and we are stuck with a weak administration. The superintendent decided parents do not matter and so, the principal (who seems to hate parents), teachers and admins basically do what they want. It’s no wonder donations are way down for the WEEFC. The principal is weak and uninterested in the needs of the students and disrespectful toward parents. He needs to understand the teachers do not own the schools, they are employees. Parents no longer believe in the school, and we are sick of paying inflated salaries for mediocre teachers who do not care about the student’s needs.
      Now if only I could sell my house…

    • MMmag

      If they are paying their teachers too high and their scores are that much lower than other districts, then the school system should be ranked lower. Why are they using tax payer dollars to over-pay mediocre staff? The teachers at Weston High School are parent averse and never return calls and do their best to avoid parents. Most do not appear to care what is best for the student and prove this by their hostile actions toward both students and parents. It is a pervasive problem that needs correcting.

  • williamll

    Dollar per SAT point is a rediculous measurement of performance. As a matter of fact, almost all high schools do not spend any effort in improving students’ SAT scores. It is a job of students and their parents. Super rich parents always send their kids to private schools. The public schools, from Lexington to Weston to Framingham high schools, are packed with kids of working class parents. Those working class parents like to send their kids to SAT classes. The working class parents in Weston are never richer than their working class counterparts in Lexington or Acton. Now the Boston Magazine is assuming that if someone has a rich neighbor, then his kids must be smarter than kids in a town without a rich neighbor, even though their family income is the same.

    • R. L. Lo

      There are very few actual working class parents in Weston. Let’s be real. I know! I live here! And everyone gets tutoring for standardized testing. EVERYONE! This is likely why the teachers and admins rest on their laurels.They assume the parents will pick up the tab for where they fall short. I think dollar per SAT point is very valid. If you are paying THAT more for teachers (as Weston does), you expect better results. The best measurement of that (across the state) is Standardized testing scores.
      But for the record, note the following:

      Weston’s 2013 school budget is 42% higher than the state norm, having recently risen (though student enrollment is going down), and yet, Weston’s ranking (outside of Boston Magazine) fell 10 points in the last year alone. 10th grade MCAS scores in Science place Weston at 113th in the state! Average SAT scores fell by 30 points on average in the past year. Weston’s classrooms are more crowded falling 88th in Massachusetts (despite the #1 tax revenue and inflated school budget). The once prestigious Weston comeptlely fell out of the ranking for best high schools in US News and World report. And it isn’t only the HS: MCAS results in math placed the elementary schools in 239 and 313 in the state. So there’s that. 🙂

      I think Boston Magazine may have been generous in their ranking.