While a student's formative years from elementary and middle school are clearly important, they are not quite the same as a high school experience. Kids come of age during their adolescence, and their performances in the classroom have a direct impact on their future college applications. For these reasons, it is imperative for high school students to take their education seriously.

StartClass, an education research site powered by Graphiq, decided to take a look at some of the best high schools in the country. Using the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Civil Rights Data Collection, we found the top public high school in every state. High schools are ranked by their StartClass Rating, which includes the following components:

  • Exam Passing Rates: This includes math proficiency rates and reading and language arts proficiency rates over the last three years.
  • School Environment: The school environment score consists of factors such as the student-teacher ratio, teacher experience and teacher absence rate.
  • Disciplinary Actions: This takes into account the school's retention rate, in-school suspension rate and out-of-school suspension rate.
  • College Preperatory Measures: This takes into account the percent of students who pass an AP exam, or the percent of students who take the ACT or SAT.
  • Graduation/Retention Rates: The rate at which seniors graduate, as well as the percent of students who get held back a grade.

States are listed in alphabetical order. Additionally, 14 percent of the public high schools in our database did not report enough data to create a rating and were left out of consideration.

It's important to note that while the StartClass Rating attempts to quantify the caliber of each high school, there are many factors outside of the score that can impact a student's high school experience. Our list provides a good overview for some of the nation's best high schools, but it is not meant to be definitive.

*Note: The images in this story do not depict the specific school on each slide.