America’s Most Challenging High Schools

America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates.

 BASIS Oro Valley (Oro Valley, Ariz.)

BASIS Oro Valley students participate in a 9th grade Advanced Placement Chemistry Lab. BASIS Oro Valley is ranked No. 1 in The Washington Post's 2016 America's Most Challenging High Schools list. (Photo by Dan Williams, Kalare Studios)

National Rankings

Get Challenge Index scores for nearly 2,300 public and private high schools nationwide, as ranked by The Post’s Jay Mathews.

1. BASIS Oro Valley
2. BASIS Flagstaff
3. Science/Engineering Magnet
4. Energized for STEM
5. BASIS Tucson North
View National List
Richard Montgomery (Rockville, Md.)

A Richard Montgomery high school student walks past the school banner on April 16, 2015 in Rockville, Md. The school has been recognized for academic excellence for many years. (Photo by Mark Gail/For The Washington Post)

D.C. Area Rankings

See Challenge Index scores for more than 180 Washington-area public and private high schools, as ranked by The Post’s Jay Mathews.

1. Washington International (P)
2. Poolesville
3. Winston Churchill
4. School Without Walls
5. Washington-Lee
View Local List

Inside The Challenge

My 2016 list

Many U.S. schools believe in challenging their students.

Contact the Post

Administrators with questions about their school's data can