Best Schools in Boston 2012

Our exclusive ranking of the region's top 50 high schools.

Boston Best Schools 2012

Photo by Scott M. Lacey

Once again, we spent the summer compiling our annual in-depth survey of Boston’s best schools. With a focus on public high schools this year, we dug through countless databases from the Massachusetts Department of ?Elementary and Secondary Education. We called (and called and called) more than 200 high schools in the area (as usual, we confined our analysis to cities and towns inside I-495) to determine graduation rates, student-teacher ratios, number of extracurriculars, and so on. And then we crunched the numbers to come up with our proprietary ranking.

Since there’s no one measure to rate the quality of a high school, we used a formula that incorporates 13 different data points. We gave the most weight to academics, including performance on the MCAS, the SATs, and AP exams, because a school’s first priority is a proper education. We also factored in both graduation rates and the percentage of students who go to college. This year, we dialed back—slightly—the importance placed on student-teacher ratio and per-pupil spending, because while they do contribute to learning, recent studies show that they’re not educational silver bullets. Finally, we considered the number of sports and clubs offered, since extracurricular activities are essential to teaching teamwork and leadership. They also look good on college applications.

We’ve built an online tool that lets you sort through the data on all the Boston schools. That way, you can evaluate the categories you find most important—academic or otherwise.

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9/6/2012: Due to a reporter error, North Reading High was omitted from our initial Top 50 rankings.

9/6/2012: We added data to our chart for North Reading High, Mary Lyon Pilot, and Greater Lowell Regional Vocational Technical.