Riverside-Brookfield High School and Lyons Township High School both dropped in the latest annual rankings of public high schools made by the magazine U.S. News & World Report. 

While LTHS only dropped two spots to 42nd in the state of Illinois, RBHS fell 31 spots, dropping from 49th last year to 80th in the latest rankings released last month. U.S. News ranked LTHS as the 933rd best public high school in the nation. RBHS was ranked 1,693 nationally.

“Rankings will vary from year to year because they are based heavily on test scores,” said RBHS Assistant Superintendent Kristin Smetana in an email. “Each class comes to RB at a different academic level and, thus, will leave at a different academic level. Some years the rankings will increase and some years the rankings will decrease.”

This year’s rankings are based on data from the 2017-18 school year. The U.S. News rankings are determined by how schools do in six categories measured by publicly available data, mostly the overall performance on standardized tests. 

The categories are college readiness (30 percent); the breadth of the college prep curriculum (10 percent); math and reading proficiency (20 percent); math and reading performance, a category that measures actual performance at the school compared to expected performance based on demographic characteristics (20 percent); the performance of black, Hispanic and low-income students (10 percent); and graduation rates (10 percent).

U.S. News ranked Payton College Prep as the top public high school in Illinois. The top five high schools in Illinois were all selective enrollment high schools in Chicago. The top non-selective enrollment high school in Illinois once again was Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, which was ranked sixth.

RBHS exceeded LTHS in two areas, both connected to Advanced Placement classes. A greater percentage of RBHS students took and passed at least one Advanced Placement exam than did their counterparts at LTHS. 

At RBHS 66 percent of students took at least one Advanced Placement class compared to 53 percent for LTHS, and 52 percent of RBHS students passed at least one AP exam compared to 49 percent at LTHS.

But, overall, LTHS students performed better on the state-mandated tests U.S. News relies upon. Sixty percent of LTHS students achieved proficiency in reading compared to 51 percent for RBHS, and 59 percent of LTHS students achieved proficiency in math compared to 48 percent for RBHS.

LTHS also had a slightly higher graduation rate (96 percent) than RBHS (95 percent).