FAIRMONT - Fairmont High School has been listed in US News and World Report as one of the nation's best high schools.
The rankings, published online, were compiled by American Institutes for Research, and were designed to highlight schools doing a good job serving all their students, not just college-bound students.
Ranked both in the state and national lists, the data from Fairmont High School, along with 21,000 other schools, was scrutinized based on three factors: overall performance on state tests, better than state average performance in disadvantaged subgroups, and performance on college level coursework, as evidenced by how many students take and pass Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses by their senior year.
Schools with fewer than 15 students in the graduating class of 2010-2011, the academic year used for the comparisons, were not ranked.
That left Fairmont ranked 42 out of 136 schools in the state eligible for ranking, and 2,043 of 18,000 in the nation.
In addition to placement on a ranked list, schools were given gold, silver or bronze awards, based on how high a school scored in all three areas of ranking.
The 500 schools with the highest unrounded college readiness index values were given gold awards.
Fairmont earned silver, placing it among schools with the highest unrounded college readiness index ranked 501 through 2,290.
Bronze awards were given to schools that passed the first two areas of scrutiny, but that do not offer AP or IB courses, or have a lower than median college readiness score. Truman and Blue Earth Area earned bronze awards.
The median score for the college readiness index was 14.8. The maximum score is 100, which would mean every senior took and passed at least on AP or IB test. Fairmont scored a 17.6 on the index.
"We have a pretty good college in the school program," Fairmont Superintendent Joe Brown said. "I am pleased so many students are taking higher-level classes."
While he wasn't surprised Fairmont made the list of the nation's best high schools, he does wish it placed higher.
Brown said the district has been implementing changes since the 2010-2011 school year, and hopes to see a higher position in the rankings in years to come.
No school in the area was ranked in previous reports.