Head of the Class

Impressive Austin high school ranks among top 30 in the nation

Impressive Austin high school ranks among top 30 in the nation

Teacher and students in a classroom
 Liberal Arts and Science Academy earns an A-plus. iStock

Austin's Liberal Arts and Science Academy is no stranger to accolades, and now it can add one more to its trophy shelf. U.S. News & World Report recently named it not only the No. 5 high school in Texas, but also among the 30 best in the nation.

And with four other Texas schools joining it at the top, it's in good company. Dallas' School for the Talented and Gifted takes the top spot in Texas and is the fourth-best high school in the nation. The School of Science and Engineering in Dallas is also up there, placing third in Texas and No. 9 in the country, while Houston's Carnegie Vanguard High School (No. 2 in Texas, No. 8 in the U.S.) and DeBakey High School for Health Professions (fourth in Texas and No. 18 nationally) also earn high marks.

All told, 589 Texas schools are in the 2017 list, which ranked 2,609 schools total.

Four factors went into the news site's rankings. The first is that the students must perform better on proficiency tests than expected in their state, and the second is that disadvantaged students (black, Hispanic, and low-income, according to the study) also exceed their state's averages in math and reading proficiency.

Then the graduation rates must have met or exceeded national standards, with schools possessing a rate of lower than 75 percent being excluded. That's actually a higher threshold than federal law requires — 67 percent — for a school to receive extra resources from its state.

The last step calculated the College Readiness index, which is based on a school's AP participation rate and how well its students did on those tests. If one or more schools received the same CRI score, unspecified tiebreakers were used to determine rankings.

If you're really after the best education in America, then it seems you should move to Arizona. The Grand Canyon State swept the top 10 with five of the highest rankings, including overall No. 1 high school, BASIS Scottsdale.