Best Public High Schools in Dallas Fort Worth

The objective of this analysis is to identify which Dallas Fort Worth public high schools currently are best preparing their students for college.

Each of the 159 DFW metroplex high schools included in this analysis was evaluated on its success on meeting this objective, based on three factors: 1) students performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests 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/or ACT college admission tests and their performance on those tests. Unlike some other published rankings, this analysis examines only the most recent student performance data available and no consideration is given to neighborhood property prices, student performance over time, and other such factors.

Many DFW high schools offer a four-year curriculum at a single campus. More and more school districts in the area, however, are choosing to operate separate campuses for ninth grade students and/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.

Of the total 159 DFW public high schools evaluated, 143 are open enrollment high schools for 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 the 2014 analysis are listed below. Additional performance and other information for the schools that are located in the park cities/north Dallas and northwest Dallas suburbs areas is available by clicking on the school's name.

Clicking on the ranking data link shown to the right of the names of the schools will cause a jump to where the performance factors for that specific school are displayed in the table below that presents performance data for all of the DFW public high schools included in this analysis. Before you click on those links, you will find it useful to first page down and become familiar with the table headings.

2014 Top 20 Dallas Fort Worth open enrollment high schools

1Highland Park High Schoolranking data
2Lovejoy High Schoolranking data
3Carroll Senior High School / Carroll High Schoolranking data
4Coppell High Schoolranking data
5Plano West Senior High School / Jasper High School / Shepton High Schoolranking data
6Flower Mound High Schoolranking data
7Marcus High Schoolranking data
8Colleyville Heritage High Schoolranking data
9Plano Senior High School / Clark High School / Vines High Schoolranking data
10Keller High Schoolranking data
11Liberty High Schoolranking data
12Grapevine High Schoolranking data
13Wakeland High Schoolranking data
14Hebron High School / Hebron Ninth Graderanking data
15Prosper High Schoolranking data
16Centennial High Schoolranking data
17Pearce High Schoolranking data
18McKinney Boyd High Schoolranking data
19Argyle High Schoolranking data
20Allen High School / Lowery Freshman Centerranking data

Several school districts in the DFW metroplex 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 expected, since admission to magnet high schools generally is highly selective and limited, the average standardized test results of the magnet schools are much higher than than average results attained by the open enrollment schools that their students would otherwise attend. This, probably to a large extent, has enabled the two schools that ranked highest among the the sixteen magnet schools included in this analysis to frequently be recognized in national surveys as the best two high schools in the U.S.

2014 Top 5 Dallas Fort Worth magnet high schools

1School for the Talented and Giftedranking data
2School of Science and Engineeringranking data
3Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership Schoolranking data
4Booker T. Washington Center for the Performing and Visual Artsranking data
5Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet Centerranking data

Click on this methodology link to see the description at the bottom of this page that further describes how the performances of these DFW public high schools were evaluated and ranked.

2014 Dallas Fort Worth public high schools

                     AP / IB courses                                    college admissions tests               
total students% at STAAR standard   % of    grades 11-12    students    social studies% of graduates     SAT                  ACT           
rank        campus(es)        ELAmathscienceELAmathELAmathscience
Allen Independent School District
20Allen High School / Lowery Freshman Center5,97693%31%75%64%81%76%77%105256624.124.824.1
Anna Independent School District
94Anna High School60380%14%46%0%0%0%54%95249321.121.322.0
Argyle Independent School District
18Argyle High School69895%25%100%93%88%69%87%102554423.023.722.8
Arlington Independent School District
71Arlington High School2,86377%23%62%63%25%35%64%97751620.422.121.0
86Bowie High School3,03775%20%48%55%21%29%68%89347818.520.619.0
88Lamar High School2,92269%21%66%31%42%39%67%96052021.323.421.7
35Martin High School3,29887%24%79%45%44%67%71%102154823.425.023.1
142Sam Houston High School3,34562%16%41%43%17%52%43%81344617.019.318.3
74Seguin High School1,68577%13%55%21%34%41%7686446317.619.018.7
Azle Independent School District
84Azle High School1,68777%12%48%39%41%11%65%93348221.320.921.6
Birdville Independent School District
51Birdville High School2,00487%35%58%45%48%41%58%97651921.622.522.2
104Haltom High School2,65477%27%31%32%35%20%48%88447718.819.919.6
54Richland High School2,17485%28%51%67%66%69%59%99852322.122.822.7
Burleson Independent School District
40Burleson Centennial High School1,60889%41%30%62%19%27%74%92550020.622.821.8
60Burleson High School1,45386%16%65%67%52%46%60%94550120.921.621.7
Carroll Independent School District
3Carroll Senior High School / Carroll High School2,59898%43%95%95%82%83%96%112059925.826.625.3
Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District
36Creekview High School1,91686%37%61%75%85%57%71%98852621.522.922.3
14Early College High School31393%----------100%875476------
48Ranchview High School80179%20%85%41%42%71%80%93050219.420.719.9
85Smith High School1,97881%29%62%33%42%40%50%97551019.921.521.3
97Turner High School2,13974%41%27%39%23%33%59%91049018.419.919.4
Castleberry Independent School District
136Castleberry High School85877%18%8%25%14%0%47%875454------
Cedar Hill Independent School District
8Cedar Hill Collegiate High School371100%----------100%101149723.022.222.5
110Cedar Hill High School / CHHS Ninth Grade Center2,23069%2%17%0%0%0%66%84544718.018.918.9
Celina Independent School District
39Celina High School62988%26%49%63%69%33%76%95253021.522.822.4
Coppell Independent School District
4Coppell High School3,05293%57%74%70%68%76%95%110359625.126.524.8
9New Tech High School at Coppell44291%19%76%0%25%60%98%104054023.523.323.2
Crowley Independent School District
115Crowley High School1,91666%13%30%0%20%32%63%85145617.419.318.6
103North Crowley High School2,39966%16%63%62%43%37%68%90347419.120.119.4
Dallas Independent School District
16A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School35185%----------------  --
4Booker T. Washington Center for Performing and Visual Arts91098%83%59%18%24%29%93%109952924.722.222.7
125Bryan Adams High School1,84667%28%5%31%13%11%57%77141914.717.016.8
140David W. Carter High School98157%25%0%0%8%0%66%75639814.316.216.0
12Dr. Wright L. Lassister Jr. Early College High School23098%----------98%93648919.320.419.4
133Emmett J. Conrad High School1,15353%37%2%36%2%0%83%73240814.717.516.8
141Franklin Roosevelt High School65853%34%4%0%0%0%73%74038914.717.116.6
112H. Grady Spruce High School1,37361%18%1%0%0%8%89%79343913.116.215.7
75Hillcrest High School1,18570%38%27%79%38%35%80%86546418.119.718.9
3Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School254100%99%29%18%33%18%100%104555422.922.722.1
139James Madison High School45457%40%5%0%0%3%77%71338913.615.614.6
5Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet Center39598%89%29%53%32%14%97%99951521.821.821.7
106Justin F. Kimball High School1,33264%21%5%65%13%7%97%72437813.616.215.1
13Kathlyn Gilliam Collegiate Academy36493%38%8%15%0%0%99%80545415.917.917.9
132L.G. Pinkston High School93556%34%1%6%6%0%80%72141614.317.016.2
15Lincoln Humanities/ Communications Magnet School51661%19%0%8%0%0%76%71538613.516.115.3
105Moises E. Molina High School2,03973%27%4%17%7%0%70%76042914.817.516.6
126North Dallas High School1,26263%19%3%28%6%9%66%76443813.817.516.2
11Rosie Sorrells School of Education and Social Services30696%83%13%24%13%4%97%90147919.519.919.8
1School for the Talented and Gifted247100%100%79%82%71%73%100%125165527.828.326.8
7School of Business and Management47997%74%18%41%25%9%97%95651319.121.020.0
6School of Health Professions53599%77%29%60%26%9%96%98952821.322.421.7
2School of Science and Engineering387100%100%47%61%69%38%100%111163424.528.825.6
129Seagoville High School1,23363%30%7%7%8%1%62%80043915.117.116.8
108Skyline High School4,65670%27%10%19%12%9%70%81943915.917.517.2
138South Oak Cliff High School1,23053%16%1%0%0%0%91%68236113.015.214.8
117Sunset High School2,14472%26%2%17%6%9%58%75841614.716.916.5
113Thomas Jefferson High School1,50262%32%18%13%10%3%85%76341814.417.016.4
10Trinidad Early College High School41599%30%36%17%48%0%100%88647417.819.519.1
122W.H. Adamson High School1,44570%27%8%56%10%8%55%76139414.916.716.5
64W.T. White High School2,34273%41%21%55%31%15%88%81646016.719.618.2
137W.W. Samuel High School1,62661%21%9%7%3%0%65%71539714.416.716.5
118Wilmer-Hutchins High School86660%27%0%0%0%3%93%71438313.215.715.3
77Woodrow Wilson High School1,65576%34%24%22%14%23%72%88646017.819.118.8
Denton Independent School District
81Denton High School2,07277%16%77%55%49%44%61%97850120.320.520.3
38John W. Guyer High School2,28388%36%53%33%59%41%73%100151921.721.521.6
87Ryan High School2,32177%13%64%58%54%39%61%93548520.120.420.6
DeSoto Independent School District
127DeSoto High School / DeSoto Freshman Campus2,98761%9%11%5%0%15%68%82743316.517.917.2
Duncanville Independent School District
109Duncanville High School3,98471%7%59%62%63%50%58%90546319.119.520.1
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District
57Boswell High School1,73984%23%60%13%33%50%64%96751421.422.122.2
73Saginaw High School1,90282%31%36%27%38%31%57%93548719.620.720.7
Everman Independent School District
111Everman High School1,32375%27%0%8%0%0%58%79243214.817.317.0
Fort Worth Independent School District
83Arlington Heights High School1,81673%31%40%45%41%31%66%94148720.521.621.0
123Carter-Riverside High School1,19967%22%8%16%17%2%54%82542417.818.619.2
114Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School94566%34%2%0%3%1%74%75341114.817.316.4
124Dunbar High School81058%34%0%9%0%0%84%73638914.116.215.9
135Eastern Hills High School1,27260%7%20%0%0%13%66%75439915.016.916.1
128North Side High School1,60866%16%28%12%4%12%49%81544217.719.618.3
143O.D. Wyatt High School1,26451%24%2%0%0%0%53%75040715.517.617.3
49Pascal High School2,66677%31%67%66%66%58%70%103853822.322.322.2
131Polytechnic High School1,16059%25%5%14%7%4%73%71240713.917.214.9
119South Hills High School1,68968%22%5%10%4%6%65%77542915.918.217.4
92Southwest High School1,34070%29%40%29%33%19%73%87846818.720.720.4
89Trimble Technical High School1,83376%28%27%28%18%9%67%87645918.519.019.0
102Western Hills High School1,35678%12%55%27%26%31%49%89146618.318.319.6
Frisco Independent School District
16Centennial High School2,18796%34%77%70%73%78%77%104957423.524.923.9
21Frisco High School1,91694%36%74%83%81%57%75%103254322.823.223.2
25Heritage High School1,98495%30%72%64%74%60%71%100853522.523.222.5
11Liberty High School2,22297%40%87%78%83%85%79%105956724.324.624.1
26Lone Star High School1,24296%34%53%78%80%60%70%99352322.322.922.8
13Wakeland High School2,01398%37%77%86%87%72%80%103754923.723.423.4
Garland Independent School District
80Garland High School2,59274%24%84%82%65%72%54%100852722.522.822.4
101Lakeview Centennial High School2,43077%9%11%0%0%24%55%88545918.919.119.5
101Naaman Forest High School2,19276%13%32%44%11%42%49%91448219.720.920.1
78North Garland High School2,32481%27%44%23%54%45%54%93350519.520.920.8
68Rowlett High School2,67583%23%53%66%24%48%53%95850720.421.821.0
66Sachse High School2,76783%18%51%51%63%48%55%93950921.223.121.9
130South Garland High School1,99071%9%15%33%64%28%41%83544316.218.217.4
Godley Independent School District
69Godley High School48885%----------62%91448720.121.020.3
Grand Prairie Independent School District
134Grand Prairie High School / Grand Prairie High School Ninth Grade Center2,50263%20%3%0%4%12%57%80344116.017.117.6
56John Dubiski Career High School1,51290%44%25%25%24%18%60%90648618.119.619.9
95S. Grand Prairie High School / S. Grand Prairie High School Ninth Grade Center2,32273%21%26%47%34%32%65%90248519.020.520.1
Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District
8Colleyville Heritage High School2,25890%48%78%81%72%79%88%106456224.424.924.1
12Grapevine High School2,08890%51%78%59%75%62%85%107555624.024.424.1
Highland Park Independent School District
1Highland Park High School2,10699%78%67%70%77%70%100%116361726.727.225.7
Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District
41Bell High School2,09388%26%68%79%62%76%67%97451921.222.121.7
45Trinity High School2,41384%27%63%93%58%63%69%93551019.821.820.8
Irving Independent School District
93Irving High School2,37366%23%31%37%33%11%89%79342617.020.417.8
55Jack Singley Academy1,67774%42%12%13%15%12%100%81843118.219.518.7
70MacArthur High School2,71674%24%43%72%18%33%83%81444416.919.118.1
72Nimitz High School2,42269%25%36%23%24%22%94%81143217.820.119.4
Joshua Independent School District
61Joshua High School1,34487%6%57%0%0%63%63%94952021.623.021.9
Keller Independent School District
29Central High School2,53092%31%60%82%52%78%72%100852822.222.922.1
50Fossil Ridge High School2,23187%26%63%35%55%46%63%97550920.721.421.0
10Keller High School2,61095%38%81%69%73%61%90%106156124.124.724.0
37Timber Creek High School2,79092%31%56%62%56%72%66%97150321.021.221.4
Kennedale Independent School District
90Kennedale High School97881%9%84%27%0%0%53%94240621.521.821.6
Lake Dallas Independent School District
58Lake Dallas High School1,29282%13%26%77%25%47%70%96951921.523.022.5
Lake Worth Independent School District
121Lake Worth High School74068%10%55%0%0%0%60%80943615.917.817.8
Lancaster Independent School District
120Lancaster High School1,74865%26%6%17%4%7%72%77439415.316.616.5
Lewisville Independent School District
6Flower Mound High School3,30996%32%84%86%89%79%90%111159325.326.524.8
14Hebron High School / Hebron Ninth Grade Center3,23292%38%70%80%84%75%81%105557324.025.723.9
67Lewisville High School / LHS Harmon Campus / LHS Killough Campus3,98085%19%40%65%55%47%55%94550020.021.820.7
7Marcus High School3,23596%32%83%81%86%89%88%106957724.425.724.4
43The Colony High School1,97890%27%56%46%65%32%66%98452920.822.722.2
Little Elm Independent School District
91Little Elm High School1,73576%25%49%4%36%44%58%90847919.220.020.5
Lovejoy Independent School District
2Lovejoy High School1,18298%70%75%61%68%48%96%107457725.225.625.0
Mansfield Independent School District
33Mansfield Frontier High School18797%50%18%7%12%8%81%90548118.019.618.6
30Mansfield High School2,30691%34%60%29%31%35%81%99352221.723.121.7
96Mansfield Lake Ridge High School1,92781%34%23%15%19%19%50%85245518.819.820.2
62Mansfield Legacy High School1,93381%31%45%24%55%33%66%98051321.622.021.6
63Mansfield Summit High School1,93780%29%28%31%27%18%76%90848920.021.020.2
44Mansfield Timberview High School1,62879%35%33%46%31%22%90%90447019.319.919.9
McKinney Independent School District
19McKinney Boyd High School3,03991%45%73%56%77%72%77%105855524.224.524.4
32McKinney High School2,07487%47%56%69%44%72%66%102253923.524.323.5
27McKinney North High School2,03489%48%53%79%66%80%69%104354322.323.423.0
Melissa Independent School District
59Melissa High School52383%15%41%0%0%0%66%100055122.423.724.3
Mesquite Independent School District
65Horn High School2,24483%18%47%78%77%46%66%91448817.519.418.4
100Mesquite High School2,83277%15%35%27%16%14%59%84645816.518.817.8
98North Mesquite High School2,63375%15%30%19%32%22%62%84944918.119.419.1
79Poteet High School1,73485%16%57%69%21%42%53%92648319.220.219.6
99West Mesquite High School1,96177%17%26%46%63%13%58%83244817.118.817.8
Northwest Independent School District
28Byron Nelson High School2,30692%46%48%36%51%45%73%98952522.422.822.7
46Northwest High School2,66684%26%46%43%32%59%68%96751221.822.522.9
Plano Independent School District
24Plano East Senior High School / McMillan High School / Williams High School5,26687%36%80%73%79%66%69%106257724.826.024.7
9Plano Senior High School / Clark High School / Vines High School5,36991%46%88%90%85%86%80%110560425.527.025.5
5Plano West Senior High School / Jasper High School / Shepton High School5,51294%47%80%83%91%82%87%112660025.926.825.7
Prosper Independent School District
15Prosper High School1,62894%44%54%82%75%72%83%102255422.924.323.3
Red Oak Independent School District
76Red Oak High School1,81884%11%56%57%83%38%57%91548619.821.120.6
Richardson Independent School District
52Berkner High School2,50780%27%55%81%71%59%71%93052619.422.321.0
47Lake Highlands High School / Lake Highlands Freshman Center2,48779%33%55%51%41%65%74%98252921.522.521.6
17Pearce High School2,17089%49%61%69%58%66%79%106557023.825.024.0
34Richardson High School2,55088%39%70%55%51%54%72%98953621.322.521.6
Rockwall Independent School District
31Rockwall High School2,28790%31%64%50%73%73%74%100654922.824.423.3
22Rockwall-Heath High School2,07590%40%60%73%57%68%75%99454022.824.323.1
Springtown Independent School District
116Springtown High School89072%3%0%0%0%0%48%96649720.521.221.1
Sunnyvale Independent School District
23Sunnyvale High School41094%----------91%94851822.923.422.0
White Settlement Independent School District
82Brewer High School1,68880%19%28%67%33%27%60%89847419.920.520.3
Wylie Independent School District
53Wylie East High School1,73490%20%51%66%46%54%59%95052720.922.921.8
42Wylie High School1,97590%23%61%54%59%74%66%98653022.023.322.8
Source: Texas Education Agency. See TEA Accountability Guidelines for additional information about TEA accountability and performance standards.

A major change in this 2014 best public high schools analysis methodology from that used before last year 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 (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 2014, nearly 94 percent of these same schools, and all of the public high schools serving the Northwest Dallas suburbs and the Park cities/north Dallas areas, were awarded the new Met Standard top rating.

Also removed as an evaluation factor was performance of graduates as college freshmen in Texas four-year universities. This was done due to more representative data becoming available about the evaluation factors now used.

The three factors on which this 2014 analysis of which DFW metroplex public high schools' students are best prepared for college are how students perform on the annual TEA STAAR tests, 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 reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies subject assessments.

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 space limitations in the above table, the participation rate in each subject area is not shown. The overall AP/IB participation is instead shown in the table as a proxy value, but was not used in the analysis.

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.

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