Cullman High School ranks 19th in U.S. News list of best Alabama high schools

Cullman High School (Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman High School (CHS) has once again ranked among the top 20 high schools in Alabama, according to a survey published recently by U.S. News and World Report. Based on information from the 2017-18 school year, CHS’s ranking dropped five places from 2019’s 14th position to number 19. The report indicated that the school’s math and reading proficiency scores both increased substantially, while the graduation rate fell by 2% and advanced placement participation fell by 3%.

CHS scorecard

  • Students taking at least one advanced placement (AP) exam: 48% (51% in 2019)
  • Students passing at least one AP exam: 24% (2019 not available)
  • Mathematics Proficiency: 76% (44% in 2019)
  • Reading Proficiency: 68% (56% in 2019)
  • Graduation Rate: 93% (95% in 2019)
  • Overall Score: 90.51 (93.47 in 2019)


CHS Principal Kim Hall told The Tribune, “It is an honor for Cullman High School to be ranked among U.S. News and World Report’s Best High Schools in America.  This is evidence of the hard work put in by our teachers and students each and every day.  

“It is encouraging to receive this news right now as our students and teachers persevere through this difficult time of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teachers, students, families and community continue to support our students’ education and this recognition is another example which proves that hard work pays off.  Congratulations to the CHS faculty and students! I could not be more proud to share this news and celebrate our continued success together!”

The survey’s overview of CHS reads:

“Cullman High School is ranked 19th within Alabama. Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement® coursework and exams. The AP® participation rate at Cullman High School is 48%. The total minority enrollment is 12%, and 29% of students are economically disadvantaged. Cullman High School is the only high school in the Cullman City.”

Arab High School at number 14

Arab High School, which serves a small number of students in the northeast corner of Cullman County, ranked ahead of CHS at number 14 on the state list, with AP participation at 53%, AP passing at 35%, 73% mathematics proficiency, 72% reading proficiency and 94% graduation rate.

Fairview High School in top 50

Fairview High School was the top ranked county system school, at number 48 on the 2020 state list, with 46% AP participation, 13% AP passing, 50% mathematics proficiency, 55% reading proficiency and a 93% graduation rate.

According to U.S. News:

“The ranking methodology draws from data for the 2017-2018 school year, using both state and federal datasets. In addition, the College Board and International Baccalaureate provided data on their respective college-prep programs, Advanced Placement and IB. These are the six indicators of school quality used to calculate the rankings:

  • College readiness, based on the proportions of 12th grade students who took and passed AP and/or IB exams.
  • College curriculum breadth, based on proportions of 12th grade students who took and passed AP and/or IB exams in multiple content areas.
  • Math and reading proficiency, based on student performance on state-required tests.
  • Math and reading performance, based on whether performance on state assessments exceeded expectations given the school’s proportion of underserved students.
  • Underserved student performance, based on how black, Hispanic and low-income students performed on state assessments compared with those who are not underserved in the state.
  • Graduation rates, based on the proportion of students who entered ninth grade in 2013-2014 and graduated four years later.


“The highest-ranked schools are those whose students excelled on state tests and performed beyond expectations; participated in and passed a variety of college-level exams; and graduated in high proportions.”

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W.C. Mann