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MN high schools low in annual US News ranking – but some data missing

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Great River School is, apparently, the best high school in the state of Minnesota.

That's according to U.S. News and World Report, which last week released its annual rankings of the country's high schools.

The St. Paul institution – a public, tuition-free charter school – got high marks within the state for its college readiness, as well as math and reading proficiency levels.

It was the only Minnesota school to be bestowed with a gold ranking by the publication.

But while it's the top high school in the state, it actually didn't rank that well nationally.

In fact, Great River is only the 341st-best high school in the country, according to U.S. News' rankings.

Only five Minnesota high schools got a silver ranking: South St. Paul Secondary, Henry Senior High School, Minnetonka High School, Fridley High School, and Champlin Park Senior High. None of those ranked higher than 1,159th nationally.

The Daily Beast gave Minnesota a couple schools in the top 200 nationally; and the state's ACT scores rank consistently toward the top. Plus, last year, U.S. News had Edina 197th overall nationally – a big step up from Great River at No. 341.

So what's the deal?

Rankings don't include some data

Part of that may be how the publication did its rankings.

You can read U.S. News' full methodology here, but basically it looked at how a school's students achieved compared to all other schools in the state (adjusting for minority populations, which traditionally score lower than whites).

It then looked at Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) data to come up with college readiness rankings.

Minnesota, however, was one of three states that U.S. News was not given permission to use AP data for.

Minnesota Department of Education spokesman Josh Collins told BringMeTheNews that because Minnesota's AP data isn't included, the ranking "doesn’t provide any valuable information about how Minnesota schools rank against schools in other states."

Alabama and South Dakota were the other states U.S. News could not use AP data. Neither had high schools achieve a gold or silver ranking.

BringMeTheNews reached out to U.S. News and World Report via email, but did not hear back.

You can look up how any school in Minnesota is doing on proficiency tests with the Department of Education's Report Card tool.

MDE also announced that this past weekend, 48 Minnesota high schoolers were honored in the Scholars of Distinction award program, in the areas of Science, STEM, Mathematics, Social Studies, Leadership and Theater Arts.

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