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Best Dallas Public High Schools

The analysis presented on this page identifies the public high schools in the Dallas Fort Worth area that currently are best preparing their students for college. Evaluation factors for the 178 DFW metroplex open enrollment and magnet high schools included in this study are shown below in the best DFW public high schools rankings table presented below. This complete set of performance metrics, which is presented in an interactive sortable and searchable table, makes possible apples-to-apples comparisons to help answer questions such as which is the best public high school in the DFW metroplex or in a city or town like Dallas or Frisco.

Many Dallas Fort Worth high schools offer a four-year curriculum at a single campus. More and more DFW school districts, however, are choosing to operate separate campuses for ninth grade students or for ninth and tenth grade students. In this analysis, the performance factors for the schools that are a part of these multiple campus arrangements were combined and the schools were evaluated in the same manner as the four-year, single-campus high schools.

Open enrollment high schools

Of the 178 DFW public high schools evaluated, 163 are open enrollment high schools at which the only requirement for admittance is student residency in the school's attendance area. The 20 DFW open enrollment high schools that ranked highest in this 2016 analysis are listed below. Additional performance and other information for high schools located in the park cities/north Dallas area and north Dallas suburbs can be accessed by clicking on the school's name.

Top 20 DFW open enrollment high schools

  1. Highland Park High School
  2. Carroll Senior High School / Carroll High School
  3. Lovejoy High School
  4. Coppell High School
  5. Plano West Senior High School / Jasper High School / Shepton High School
  6. Liberty High School
  7. Flower Mound High School / Flower Mound Ninth Grade Campus
  8. Argyle High School
  9. Wakeland High School
  10. Marcus High School / Marcus Ninth Grade Campus
  11. Keller High School
  12. Plano Senior High School / Clark High School / Vines High School
  13. Grapevine High School
  14. Aledo High School / Daniel Ninth Grade Center
  15. Colleyville Heritage High School
  16. Prosper High School
  17. Frisco High School
  18. McKinney Boyd High School
  19. Sunnyvale High School
  20. Centennial High School

Magnet high schools

A number of DFW school districts also operate magnet schools. Magnet schools provide career-oriented or specialized curriculum in addition to academic subjects, and admittance typically is based on students' previous academic performance and interests demonstrated in student interviews, auditions, essays, and other similar faculty assessments. As would be expected, since admission to magnet high schools generally is highly selective and limited, the average standardized test results of the magnet schools generally are much higher than results attained by the open enrollment schools that their students otherwise would attend.

These factors, probably to a large extent, have enabled the two Dallas Independent School District schools that rank highest among the fifteen magnet schools included in this analysis to frequently be recognized in national surveys as two of the best high schools in the U.S. In any event, they also top this 2016 DFW best public high schools ranking.

Top 5 DFW magnet high schools

  1. School of Talented and Gifted
  2. School of Science and Engineering
  3. Rangel Young Women's Leadership School
  4. Washington High School for Arts
  5. School of Health Professions

Each of the DFW metroplex high schools included in these rankings was evaluated on its success in preparing its students for college, based on three metrics: 1) students performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) evaluations administered by the Texas Education Commission (TEA), 2) participation in and successful completion of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, and 3) percentage of graduating seniors taking the SAT and ACT college admission tests and their performance on those tests. TEA ratings were not considered in this analysis since all but two of the DFW high schools included in this analysis received Met Standard accountability ratings. Only Wyatt High School and South Oak Cliff High School, the two bottom ranked high schools received Improvement Required ratings.

Unlike some other published rankings, including the U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools Ranking, this analysis examines only the most recent student performance data available and no consideration is given to student demographics, changes in student performance over time, and other such factors. Click on this Methodology link to jump to a more in-depth description at the bottom of this page of how the performances of these DFW public high schools were evaluated and ranked in this analysis.

Best DFW public high schools rankings

AP / IB coursescollege admission tests
rankcampus(es)school districtstudentsstudent
1School of Talented and Gifted Dallas 252100%99%86%86%76%73%100%192229.6
2School of Science and Engineering Dallas 395100%100%56%76%72%55%100%178427.0
3Highland Park High School Highland Park 2,14099%78%68%79%78%73%99%179226.9
4Carroll Senior High School / Carroll High School Carroll 2,66898%49%87%90%84%77%97%174026.5
5Rangel Young Women's Leadership School Dallas 270100%99%35%31%34%29%100%159122.9
6Lovejoy High School Lovejoy 1,25599%63%82%61%64%82%92%167825.6
7Washington High School for Arts Dallas 89698%86%69%27%23%36%93%161922.5
8Coppell High School Coppell 3,12494%53%70%73%65%68%94%172125.6
9School of Health Professions Dallas 55199%86%28%59%23%11%100%149420.3
10Plano West Senior High School / Jasper High School / Shepton High School Plano 5,80995%51%83%83%88%83%82%171926.0
11Liberty High School Frisco 2,03797%43%79%76%74%79%84%166425.0
12Sanders Magnet Center for Public Service Dallas 39399%97%22%51%10%10%95%153021.8
13Flower Mound High School / Flower Mound Ninth Grade Campus Lewisville 3,50096%33%90%88%79%81%89%170625.6
14Argyle High School Argyle 71198%32%80%91%84%70%92%160024.5
15Wakeland High School Frisco 2,21897%43%86%79%88%73%85%159223.7
16Marcus High School / Marcus Ninth Grade Campus Lewisville 3,27495%33%84%81%90%86%86%165524.5
17Cedar Hill Collegiate High School Cedar Hill 37999%100%153822.1
18Keller High School Keller 2,64495%39%79%87%75%60%85%163724.3
19Plano Senior High School / Clark High School / Vines High School Plano 5,47493%45%77%88%81%82%80%171826.1
20Garza Early College High School Dallas 419100%63%19%84%63%58%91%142220.1
21New Tech High School at Coppell Coppell 37896%28%50%31%32%15%97%160222.4
22School of Business and Management Dallas 50598%82%18%52%11%7%94%145320.0
23Grapevine High School Grapevine-Colleyville 2,00592%52%71%71%64%63%83%161524.5
24Sorrels School of Education and Social Services Dallas 31597%91%17%38%6%7%100%135719.6
25Aledo High School / Daniel Ninth Grade Center Aledo 1,58294%39%77%77%61%59%83%159224.0
26Colleyville Heritage High School Grapevine-Colleyville 2,21990%53%65%77%67%68%84%163424.5
27Lassiter Early College High School Dallas 24198%48%25%98%133819.3
28Prosper High School Prosper 1,86895%40%70%71%53%58%84%156123.2
29Frisco High School Frisco 2,13693%37%85%82%76%67%78%161724.6
30McKinney Boyd High School McKinney 2,87593%45%75%56%73%72%76%160224.0
31Sunnyvale High School Sunnyvale 44296%90%154022.8
32Centennial High School Frisco 2,06196%34%82%79%77%82%69%163124.4
33Pearce High School Richardson 2,24387%52%59%60%64%66%92%162922.6
34Allen High School / Lowery Freshman Center Allen 6,10393%32%77%79%84%84%75%160524.0
35Hebron High School / Hebron Ninth Grade Center Lewisville 3,35591%33%77%86%87%80%81%161523.9
36Early College High School Carrollton-Farmers Branch 30094%100%139720.7
37Richardson High School Richardson 2,64187%43%68%50%59%57%100%151720.2
38Gilliam Collegiate Academy Dallas 35696%39%6%64%99%128818.3
39Plano East Senior High School / McMillen High School / Williams High School Plano 5,08890%40%77%74%77%66%69%164325.3
40Rockwall High School Rockwall 2,32291%35%58%45%76%62%80%155823.1
41Heritage High School Frisco 1,83892%32%77%69%77%60%74%157623.0
42Waxahachie Global High School Waxahachie 41895%76%156423.4
43Central High School Keller 2,57093%32%66%75%41%77%67%154322.9
44Nelson High School Northwest 2,55291%44%47%47%38%36%74%153423.1
45Mansfield High School Mansfield 2,33392%30%69%26%40%39%77%153422.2
46Mansfield Frontier High School Mansfield 22299%37%24%10%7%64%142521.6
47Guyer High School Denton 2,39591%34%47%42%50%45%76%151521.6
48Lone Star High School Frisco 1,36493%30%61%68%71%55%68%152922.4
49McKinney North High School McKinney 2,07892%50%49%81%49%80%64%154622.1
50Rockwall-Heath High School Rockwall 2,20089%36%72%83%64%80%75%154222.6
51Timber Creek High School Keller 2,95591%33%52%64%58%57%72%151622.0
52Martin High School Arlington 3,36189%26%80%72%59%60%72%156723.3
53Wylie High School Wylie 2,05993%23%68%65%44%73%66%148821.8
54Paschal High School Fort Worth 2,61084%33%61%64%58%49%88%145722.8
55Bell High School Hurst-Euless-Bedford 2,14390%32%58%86%73%63%66%151422.4
56The Colony High School Lewisville 1,98791%25%57%64%74%64%62%152721.9
57Melissa High School Melissa 58191%22%32%14%73%147521.6
58McKinney High School McKinney 2,48688%49%46%75%47%58%63%155923.1
59Dubiski Career High School Grand Prairie 1,48694%41%14%27%10%21%62%141719.8
60Creekview High School Carrollton-Farmers Branch 1,96387%39%50%75%82%57%70%149221.9
61Burleson Centennial High School Burleson 1,56888%44%37%83%37%32%69%144122.1
62Forney High School Forney 1,40294%17%48%71%53%20%55%147521.7
63Wylie East High School Wylie 1,71891%27%35%67%31%40%63%144521.8
64Singley Academy Irving 1,72283%48%21%14%14%15%100%125719.8
65Midlothian High School Midlothian 2,38589%19%74%80%71%46%66%149222.3
66Trinity High School Hurst-Euless-Bedford 2,41588%27%65%89%58%62%65%149021.5
67Celina High School Celina 67787%28%34%92%62%30%72%150622.0
68Berkner High School Richardson 2,47778%28%62%66%54%54%98%150018.9
69Fossil Ridge High School Keller 2,30888%29%58%34%50%50%66%146721.0
70Lake Highland High School / Lake Highlands Freshman Center Richardson 2,49378%33%52%57%56%65%95%151219.4
71Mansfield Lake Ridge High School Mansfield 2,08586%39%33%18%14%11%76%141921.2
72North Forney High School Forney 1,27490%15%65%55%63%61%139419.7
73Wilson High School Dallas 1,69684%49%36%52%29%24%78%138419.2
74MacArthur High School Irving 2,73682%28%37%67%29%37%93%124819.3
75Trimble Technical High School Fort Worth 1,79882%38%18%29%13%4%100%126018.2
76Grandview High School Grandview 37890%62%143022.4
77Granbury High School / Crossland Ninth Grade Center Granbury 1,91187%23%41%45%37%44%64%148521.9
78Krum High School Krum 59687%15%44%68%143420.9
79Birdville High School Birdville 2,08385%36%54%41%53%58%58%151222.2
80Red Oak High School Red Oak 1,79088%12%53%69%63%53%62%144021.0
81Aubrey High School Aubrey 58589%12%41%90%56%148622.8
82Boswell High School Eagle Mountain-Saginaw 1,60585%25%64%40%37%56%66%144520.9
83Ranchview High School Carrollton-Farmers Branch 84382%25%90%45%39%69%71%146920.4
84Northwest High School Northwest 2,79084%28%53%46%26%53%67%145221.8
85Royse City High School Royse City 1,41085%16%47%36%25%69%142221.6
86Richland High School Birdville 2,13785%29%61%60%52%79%57%152421.9
87Nimitz High School Irving 2,40981%30%33%15%16%17%94%124918.8
88Mansfield Legacy High School Mansfield 1,94583%29%42%40%49%36%68%149122.2
89Saginaw High School Eagle Mountain-Saginaw 1,78586%29%45%47%35%45%63%139720.0
90Mansfield Timberview High School Mansfield 1,65682%26%39%50%39%28%76%140119.8
91Arlington Heights High School Fort Worth 1,82374%35%42%49%54%27%100%132522.1
92Poteet High School Mesquite 1,74386%24%55%40%43%38%61%136620.2
93Western Hills High School Fort Worth 1,23678%25%43%29%35%20%100%122717.7
94Smith High School Carrollton-Farmers Branch 1,97283%30%62%45%56%46%59%153121.9
95Godley High School Godley 52686%65%140121.4
96Lake Dallas High School Lake Dallas 1,27484%11%39%58%53%64%145922.5
97Crandall High School Crandall 92086%19%38%16%24%59%146420.3
98Mansfield Summit High School Mansfield 2,02081%25%30%40%49%32%75%140920.6
99Sachse High School Garland 2,85984%20%35%57%68%44%57%147222.1
100Joshua High School / Joshua Ninth Grade Campus Joshua 1,38686%5%43%69%55%145722.4
101Burleson High School Burleson 1,58381%26%63%30%51%36%69%142221.0
102Weatherford High School Weatherford 2,23584%19%73%56%59%49%57%146520.9
103Maypearl High School Maypearl 31188%47%147321.1
104Kennedale High School Kennedale 99282%10%66%66%144521.3
105Anna High School Anna 70585%12%46%75%53%145321.4
106North Garland High School Garland 2,49583%27%49%30%45%62%54%146321.1
107Brewer High School White Settlement 1,72681%18%39%45%66%29%68%137220.4
108Arlington High School Arlington 2,84378%27%61%62%41%40%66%149222.0
109Horn High School Mesquite 2,28281%21%53%58%33%46%65%139419.7
110Rio Vista High School Rio Vista 24582%63%138521.4
111Lewisville High School / LHS Harmon / LHS Killough Lewisville 4,15683%19%41%65%71%43%55%143420.2
112Rowlett High School Garland 2,73280%21%55%62%33%41%59%147121.0
113Garland High School Garland 2,62077%29%80%81%72%69%58%154622.5
114Lakeview Centennial High School Garland 2,31781%15%11%45%11%69%137818.7
115Denton High School Denton 2,15777%22%76%46%47%43%68%147220.5
116Seguin High School Arlington 1,65379%16%40%21%38%27%73%132218.3
117Azle High School Azle 1,74180%16%46%18%30%30%60%144721.8
118Southwest High School Fort Worth 1,26571%34%28%24%14%15%99%128018.4
119South Grand Prairie HS / South Grand Prairie HS Ninth Grade Center Grand Prairie 3,25682%22%40%48%34%29%55%136919.8
120Ferris High School Ferris 65181%5%64%131719.5
121Kaufman High School Kaufman 95780%6%45%62%135420.1
122W.T. White High School Dallas 2,28973%39%24%76%46%18%79%134218.5
123Little Elm High School Little Elm 1,86678%22%47%42%45%39%61%142120.4
124Ryan High School Denton 2,40478%15%61%49%39%36%61%144220.4
125Hillcrest High School Dallas 1,23874%42%25%33%45%17%78%130917.7
126Mesquite High School Mesquite 2,84181%15%43%26%38%7%57%130718.2
127Everman High School Everman 1,37080%32%3%44%9%65%122516.5
128Irving High School Irving 2,42173%25%15%37%26%8%89%121317.5
129North Mesquite High School Mesquite 2,75478%17%32%21%44%22%65%130618.7
130Waxahachie High School Waxahachie 1,98578%20%40%32%21%25%57%143420.5
131West Mesquite High School Mesquite 1,93580%28%19%25%29%17%55%131319.1
132Bowie High School Arlington 3,05375%21%46%49%26%28%67%138119.6
133Haltom High School Birdville 2,58180%27%36%57%35%21%46%137419.6
134Turner High School Carrollton-Farmers Branch 2,06979%35%26%30%21%35%48%143219.7
135Molina High School Dallas 2,09977%30%6%15%2%1%74%116115.9
136Springtown High School Springtown 91278%54%144921.6
137Naaman Forest High School Garland 2,05078%17%32%59%16%39%50%140321.2
138South Hills High School Fort Worth 1,84269%29%7%12%6%100%113516.6
139Crowley High School Crowley 1,99475%22%20%33%18%17%62%129418.8
140Cleburne High School Cleburne 1,65372%24%47%35%62%140821.6
141Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School Fort Worth 71567%29%3%1%3%100%115217.9
142North Crowley High School Crowley 2,43472%29%51%43%26%24%65%137018.5
143Skyline High School Dallas 4,77472%27%11%21%4%7%75%123416.7
144Carter-Riverside High School Fort Worth 1,27267%25%12%7%14%5%100%114516.9
145Sunset High School Dallas 2,07874%40%4%10%6%6%61%121516.9
146Adams High School Dallas 1,93673%30%4%33%7%3%62%121917.1
147Lake Worth High School Lake Worth 74373%14%15%3%61%127917.5
148Lamar High School Arlington 2,91867%22%69%53%50%40%63%147822.0
149Kimball High School Dallas 1,44167%23%9%47%6%10%96%110415.3
150Duncanville High School Duncanville ISD 3,92373%6%50%50%58%130618.6
151Adamson High School Dallas 1,44171%31%11%48%4%14%70%120816.2
152Cedar Hill High School / Ninth Grade Center Cedar Hill 2,29371%3%20%7%66%129918.2
153North Side High School Fort Worth 1,67165%42%9%12%17%8%94%113517.6
154Wilmer-Hutchins High School Dallas 86271%27%1%8%9%78%114614.8
155Smith High School Keene 27478%60%1283
156Seagoville High School Dallas 1,28872%32%5%5%10%5%63%127316.6
157Alvarado High School Alvarado 1,03372%7%17%57%136718.6
158Lancaster High School Lancaster 1,84169%25%8%35%5%3%71%119816.4
159Spruce High School Dallas 1,48767%19%11%6%74%116615.3
160DeSoto High School / DeSoto HS Freshman Campus DeSoto 3,06268%8%16%22%7%65%124917.0
161Jefferson High School Dallas 1,71864%40%6%5%1%1%84%119016.0
162Dunbar High School Fort Worth 85862%25%4%100%106215.6
163Castleberry High School Castleberry 92875%21%6%21%18%6%52%1282
164Samuell High School Dallas 1,63469%22%1%16%9%1%65%110415.6
165Carter High School Dallas 1,03965%42%5%78%114015.3
166Eastern Hills High School Fort Worth 1,21360%13%5%9%3%100%110116.4
167Polytechnic High School Fort Worth 1,18860%39%19%6%3%99%109616.0
168Lincoln High School Dallas 52568%48%31%63%108115.0
169Grand Prairie High School Grand Prairie 2,55366%25%6%11%4%4%60%122517.1
170South Garland High School Garland 2,00768%20%9%29%6%8%48%124817.4
171Roosevelt High School Dallas 59962%37%1%76%114516.1
172Conrad High School Dallas 1,12161%32%7%11%7%1%77%115615.6
173Pinkston High School Dallas 99861%25%5%4%74%116116.1
174Houston High School Arlington 3,49963%20%30%31%15%50%58%126617.0
175North Dallas High School Dallas 1,20959%30%7%27%6%5%76%113415.7
176Madison High School Dallas 46456%50%3%4%4%88%109814.9
177Wyatt High School Fort Worth 1,34655%26%5%89%106415.3
178South Oak Cliff High School Dallas 1,31955%16%83%102914.6


Similar Dallas area elementary schools and middle schools student performance ranked lists are available on these best DFW public elementary schools and best DFW public middle schools pages. Schools with the best k-12 student performance are identified on this best DFW public k-12 schools page.


A major change in this 2016 best public high schools analysis methodology from the methodology employed prior to 2013 is the removal of the TEA accountability rating as an evaluation factor. This was done because of the reduced number of accountability ratings from four Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable and Academically Unacceptable, to two ratings, Met Standard and Improvement Required, and more importantly, how much easier it now is to earn the top rating. In 2011, the last year the previous performance system was used, less than 24 percent of all public the schools in the DFW metroplex received the coveted Exemplary rating, while in 2016, nearly 94 percent of these same schools, and all of the public high schools serving the north Dallas suburbs and the park cities/north Dallas areas, were awarded the Met Standard top rating.

The three factors on which this 2016 analysis of which DFW metroplex public high schools' students are best prepared for college are how students perform on the annual TEA STAAR evaluations, the level of participation and success of students taking AP/IB courses, and the level of participation and success of students on college admission tests. Each high school included in the study was measured against twelve evaluation criteria that were selected to reflect these three factors.

Within each evaluation category, the top rated school was awarded the maximum points allocated to that category and all other schools were awarded a proportional number of points based on how their individual scores compared to the score of the top rated school. Scores from all six evaluation categories were then added together to arrive at the school's overall score. Some high schools did not participate in all the evaluation categories. While these schools were credited with no points in the applicable categories, total possible points for each of these schools also were adjusted.

Performance on STAAR tests: 40 points

A maximum of 40 points was awarded based on the percentage of a school's students meeting the TEA's achievement standards on the STAAR reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies subject assessments. The TEA refers to the percentage of total number of student assessments for all subjects tested that met or exceeded its achievement standards for campuses and districts as their student achievement indexes.

Participation and performance in AP/IB courses: 30 points

A maximum of 30 points was awarded based on percentage of students in grades 11-12 participating and successfully completing AP/IB courses. The schools with the highest percentage of students taking and passing College Board AP examinations or IB examinations in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science and social studies were awarded 7.5 points for each subject area category. Because of display space limitations in the above table, the participation rate in each subject area is not displayed.

Participation and performance on college entrance exams: 30 points

The schools with the highest adjusted SAT scores (percentage of seniors taking SAT and/or ACT college entrance exams times their SAT median ELA and mathematics scores) were each awarded 7.5 points. The schools with the highest adjusted ACT scores (percentage of seniors taking SAT and/or ACT college entrance exams times their ACT median ELA, mathematics and science scores) were each award 5 points. Because of display space limitations in the above table, the subject area scores are not displayed. The combined score for both SAT subject areas and the average ACT scores of all three subject areas are instead shown in the table as proxy values, but were not used in the analysis.

Source: Texas Education Agency.

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