Niche.com notes: The 2021 Best School Districts ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more. Read more on how this ranking was calculated.

Here are the top 10 schools district in Maryland (and their grade letter) according to Niche.com:

  1. Howard County (A+)
  2. Montgomery County (A)
  3. Worcester County (A)
  4. Carroll County (A)
  5. Frederick County(A-)
  6. Calvert County (A-)
  7. Harford County (A-)
  8. Queen Anne’s County (B+)
  9. Washington County (B+)
  10. St. Mary’s County (B+)

You can view the full listing here:  https://www.niche.com/k12/search/best-school-districts/s/maryland/

Here are the top 6 rated public schools in Howard County (and their grade letter) according to Niche.com:

  • #3 overall – Marriotts Ridge High School (A+)
  • #4 overall – River Hill High School (A+)
  • #9 overall – Centennial High School (A+)
  • #11 overall – Mount Hebron High School (A+)
  • #13 overall – Atholton High School (A+)
  • #16 overall – Glenelg High School (A+)

You can view the full listing here:  https://www.niche.com/k12/search/best-public-schools/s/maryland/

Here are the “factors considered” that play into the final gradings and rankings:

Here is an article on this topic from Patch.com: https://patch.com/maryland/columbia/marylands-best-school-districts-2021-new-rankings-released

Scott E

6 COMMENTS

  1. Have we beaten MoCo in school rankings before?
    We passed them in money per capita a few years ago, so I guess it makes sense that this ranking would follow.

    Hmm… our perennial top 3 schools definitely don’t score well on economic diversity, so they must be counting the 30+% Asian American population as “culture & racial diversity” to make up for 90+% of students being middle class or higher. As a well-to-do AA myself, I’m conflicted about this.

    https://www.zipdatamaps.com/schools/maryland/county/map-of-howard-county-md-high-school-free-lunch-program

    • It’s far easier to achieve high average academic/test scores in schools that have affluent professional parents; that doesn’t mean the school is better, or that any particular child will receive a better education there, it’s just selection bias. Schools with high achievement *and* economic diversity are the impressive ones.

      • Exactly. Baltimore City highest performing schools score the same as, sometimes better than, the HoCo lowest performing schools – without the high cost of living. Little value is provided to those less affluent families who struggle to move here and live here for the “better” schools. Such a sham.

        • According to Niche, the lowest-ranked HoCo schools are still well above the state average.
          The only Baltimore City schools with comparable scores are city-wide magnets: Poly and School for the Arts.

          I agree that the primary factor in school success is the parent population. If most of the parents are educated and involved, they improve the attitude of the school as a whole. Unfortunately, the inverse is also true: if most of the families are under-educated and struggling to survive, it impedes the school’s ability to improve.

  2. David is correct. School to school, county to county, state to state comparison is a red herring. The only meaningful comparison might be from similarly affluent polygon to similarly affluent polygon. The data exists. Only then would you be able to determine a “good” school. Of particular interest would be the one that achieves with a lower cost per student.

  3. Ahaa! It seems people are now slowly…and I mean glacially slowly starting to see things for what they really are. These stats and rankings are inherently meaningless when they fail to take into account the obvious rift so many have mentioned up here and the lumping of averages to achieve “scores”. I think the word “selection bias” best sums it up.
    With the advent of big data, in 5 years people will be able to just punch in their INDIVIDUAL profiles and AI will spit out the outcomes of each district down to the school level. (For instance, the AA above would be able to see how well high vs low income AA perform comparatively in SAT scores, college readiness and even exit interviews). Such fine tuning of data will make people runaway from these schools that excel on subjective centralized ratings. It will be like people dumping cable and picking Netflix, amazon for their OWN personal tastes not that of some hollywood exec shoving forced programming down their throats.

    Notice these “reports” are well touted by the beneficiaries of such news – Politicians, realtors, unions, developers and even occasional media outlets (Scottie is guilty of this too). At any rate, Im not sure if schooling will be the same after COVID and tech changes the antiquated schooling.

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