Cullman High no. 18 in state in 2018 ‘U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools’ report


CULLMAN –  U.S. News & World Report on Wednesday released its annual Best High Schools rankings. Among Alabama high schools, Cullman High School came in at no. 18.

Of CHS, which has a 95 percent graduation rate, the report said, “Cullman High School is ranked 18th within Alabama. Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement course work and exams. The AP participation rate at Cullman High School is 53 percent. The student body makeup is 53 percent male and 47 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 9 percent.”

The “scorecard” for Cullman High showed:

  • College Readiness Index 33.1
  • AP Tested 53%
  • AP Passed 50%
  • Mathematics Proficiency 48%
  • Reading Proficiency 63%

The rankings for Alabama included one gold, 38 silver and 78 bronze medal schools. Cullman High received silver.

The top 20 schools in Alabama are:

  1. Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School
  2. Mt Brook High School
  3. Homewood High School
  4. Bob Jones High School
  5. Oak Mt High School
  6. Vestavia Hills High School
  7. Hewitt-Trussville High School
  8. James Clemens High School
  9. Brewbaker Tech Magnet High School
  10. Auburn High School
  11. Fairhope High School
  12. Ramsay High School
  13. New Century Tech Demo High School
  14. Spain Park High School
  15. Hartselle High School
  16. Thompson High School
  17. Arab High School
  18. Cullman High School
  19. Chelsea High School
  20. Guntersville High School


U.S. News has a comprehensive rankings methodology, based on these key principles: “that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

The rankings considered 20,548 public schools across the nation.  

For national rankings, a four-step process was used. “The first three steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using their performance on the math and reading parts of their state proficiency tests and their graduation rates as the benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first three steps, a fourth step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.”

  1. Are the school’s students performing better than expected, statistically? This included factoring in the percentages of economically disadvantaged students. The first step determined whether each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for students in that state.
  2. Did students with historically underserved students – black, Hispanic and low-income – performed at or better than the state average for historically underserved students?
  3. Did the school meet or surpass a benchmark for graduation rate? Schools with less than an 80 percent graduation rate did not pass this step.  
  4. Are the school’s students prepared for college?  College-readiness performance was judged using Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test data.

“In total, U.S. News nationally ranked the 5,948 highest-scoring schools as gold, silver or bronze depending on their CRI (College Readiness Index) values.”

Highlights of the 2018 Best High Schools Rankings

Breakdown of the results: After first eliminating public high schools that had fewer than 15 12th-grade students during the 2015-2016 school year, 20,548 schools were eligible to be included in the 2018 Best High Schools rankings.

As a result of the four-step rankings process, U.S. News awarded 28.9 percent of the 20,548 eligible public high schools with medals: 3,237 high schools – 15.8 percent of the eligible schools – received bronze medals; 2,211 high schools – 10.8 percent – earned silver medals; and 500 high schools – 2.4 percent – received gold medals.

For a high school to receive a gold medal in this year's rankings, it had to have a CRI value of 57.78 or higher, which is a higher standard than in the 2017 rankings, when a CRI value of 56 or higher was needed to earn a gold medal.

Click here for an in-depth look at the methodology.

Data and quotes from Image courtesy of Cullman High School.

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