The data used was based on the 2009-10 school year. The rankings were drawn from a pool of 22,000 public high schools in 49 states as well as the District of Columbia, and methodology included test scores, state assessments and college-level coursework, such as AP or IB programs.
The high school was awarded one of 20 gold medals in the state, and a high school must achieve a gold or silver status to be eligible for the state ranking, according to the magazine.
The No. 1 high school in Illinois was Northside College Prepatory in Chicago, followed by Walter Payton College Prepatory in Chicago, Jonas College Prep in Chicago. Whitney Young Magnet in Chicago, and Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire rounded out the top five. Deerfield High School was ranked 7th, Highland Park achieved 12th, New Trier 13th, Libertyville 16th, Vernon Hills 18th, and Glenbrook North was 19th in the top 20.
Nationally, the top high school was the School for Talented and Gifted in Dallas, followed by Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., and the School of Science and Engineering Magnet in Dallas.