Wisconsin's Top 5 High Schools in Two Lists

Apr 21, 2016

The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report annually rank high schools nationally and by state. In 2016, neither list includes a Wisconsin high school in its top 100. Of the higher-ranking state schools, nearly all are located in the Milwaukee area, with Cedarburg and New Berlin Eisenhower showing up on both lists.

Rankings in the Post are based on the number of advanced-level coursework administered at each school, as well as the school's graduation rate. Percentages of families who qualify for free or reduced price lunch and college-level coursework were also factored into the calculations.

The Washington Posts' top five most challenging high schools in Wisconsin:

#1 - Milwaukee School of Languages

This is MSL's first appearance at the head of the Post's list (last year it ranked in the top 20). In a statement on the school's website, school leaders say they believe MSL's strong Advanced Placement (AP) program helped it earn high marks.  

Credit MPS

Type of school: Public (Milwaukee Public Schools district)

National ranking: 511

Four-year graduation rate: 87%

Average ACT score: 18.7

Number of AP / IB courses: 12

Enrollment: 539

#2 - Carmen High School of Science & Technology

This is Carmen's second appearance on the Post top high schools list. 

Type of school: Public (Milwaukee Public Schools district)

National ranking: 534

Four-year graduation rate: 89%

Average ACT score: 19.2

Number of AP / IB courses: 7

Enrollment: 355

#3 - Marshfield High School

This is Marshfield's fifth consecutive appearance in the Post's list, and the first time the school has not held the first or second place spot among Wisconsin schools. 

Type of school: Public (School District of Marshfield)

National ranking: 540

Four-year graduation rate: 92%

Average ACT score: 24.8

Number of AP / IB courses: 28

Enrollment: 1216

#4 - New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School

This is Eisenhower's fifth consecutive appearance on the Post's top five list of Wisconsin schools. A fourth place ranking is the highest mark it has ever received (last year, it sat at the number five spot).

Type of school: Public (School District of New Berlin)

National ranking: 654

Four-year graduation rate: 98%

Average ACT score: 24.7 

Number of AP / IB courses: 22

Enrollment: 844

#5 - Cedarburg High School

This is Cedarburg's fifth consecutive appearance on the Post's list.

Type of school: Public (Cedarburg school district)

National ranking: 664

Four-year graduation rate: 99%

Average ACT score: 25.5

Number of AP / IB courses: 21

Enrollment: 1162

Thirty-two Wisconsin high schools made the Post's national list, with most located in Milwaukee County or surrounding counties.

U.S. News & World Report calculates its lists a bit differently. Determining factors include graduation rates, performance on state assessments, and how well schools prepare their students for college. 

U.S. News & World Report's list of top five best high schools in Wisconsin:

#1 - Whitefish Bay High School

Credit Whitefish Bay School District

Type of school: Public (Whitefish Bay school district)

National ranking: 194

Four-year graduation rate: 96%

College Readiness Index: 70.6

Enrollment: 981

#2 - Reagan College Preparatory High

Type of school: Public (Milwaukee Public Schools district)

National ranking: 318

Four-year graduation rate: 91%

College Readiness Index: 62.9

Enrollment: 1,228

#3 - Cedarburg High School

Type of school: Public (Cedarburg school district)

National ranking: 389

Four-year graduation rate: 98%

College Readiness Index: 60.1

Enrollment: 1,141

#4 - New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School

(Address: 4333 South Sunnyslope Rd., New Berlin)

Type of school: Public (School district of New Berlin)

National ranking: 459

Four-year graduation rate: 96%

College Readiness Index: 57.1

Enrollment: 1,217* (this is different from the enrollment reported in the Post because it includes middle school students educated at Eisenhower)*

#5 - New Berlin Middle/High School

(Address: 18695 West Cleveland Ave., New Berlin)

Type of school: Public (School district of New Berlin)

National ranking: 498

Four-year graduation rate: 96%

College Readiness Index: 55.7

Enrollment: 1,174

Out of the 28,561 public high schools reviewed by U.S. News nationally, 164 Wisconsin schools cracked the list.