Public school rankings are determined by looking at the overall performance of the student body. Their performance is assessed in terms of the socio-economic status of their population, test scores, graduation rate and percentage of high school graduates who are accepted to universities.
The two most common ways to quickly rank schools are to look at the graduation rate and the standardized test scores as a measure of student performance. The student body's average scores from tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, are used in ranking public high schools nationwide. These tests are directly linked to the number of students who successfully apply to universities and the types of colleges graduating seniors can expect to attend. High standardized test scores often mean good chances for quality tertiary education. The addition of high graduation rates means high rankings.
The demographic of a school's population is also taken into account when rankings are made. Economically disadvantaged students are taken into account, as students from lower-income families statistically perform at a lower level. Rankings take into account the percentage of low-income students and whether they perform on par with their economic peers at other schools, better than their peers or worse.