Tracy Jennings, Works at Noodle and here to help!
Thanks for your question — it's a good one, and one that got everyone inspires a lot of the work we do at Noodle.
Just as with college, rankings systems have become increasingly popular for high school. You can find lists of the "top high schools in U.S." on news outlets from The Washington Post to online websites, and they all offer their calculated opinion about which schools are best.
Sure, lists are fun to read — how else would Buzzfeed have gotten so popular?! — but at Noodle, we tend to shy away from making any declarations about what's best for you. While we acknowledge rankings can help students make better informed decisions (and so we include all the various sets of them on college profiles, we also recognize there's no "one-size-fits-all" solution.
Instead, we aggregate a wide variety of data sources, which then provides a more nuanced picture of every public high school in the United States. We crunch the raw data published by authoritative sources rather than assign subjective weights to certain measures. You can then filter by different values, like educational quality or distance from home. Our primary aim is to be neutral and allow you to decide the factors that are important.
When you search for high school on our site, you'll see a list appear of schools near you. They aren't necessarily the closest ones to you — that's because we developed an algorithm to calculate which are the best schools near you based on a variety of factors incorporated into our evaluation. You learn more about how these factors play into what we call our K-12 report card.
So that means, for each visitor on site, no two lists of the "top" 20 high schools will look the same.
What's more, you can even craft your own lists of schools on site.
This might not be perhaps the simple, straightforward answer you expected, but I hope you enjoy using our site to find what high schools make your top list.