National rankings: Academic Magnet No. 3 magnet; 8th overall

Academic Magnet High School

Rankings for the top high schools in America showed that Academic Magnet is the third-highest-rated magnet school in the country.

U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday announced its 2016 Best High Schools rankings, featuring top-performing schools at the national and state level. The rankings evaluate data on more than 21,500 public high schools to identify which schools are best at preparing students for college and careers.

Academic Magnet ranked third in the nation for magnet schools and eighth in the nation in the overall high school rankings. It is the top school in South Carolina.

Academic Magnet previously made it into the nation’s top 10 best schools in 2015, 2013 and 2008.

The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas takes the No. 1 spot in the national rankings for the fifth straight year, followed by two Arizona schools: BASIS Scottsdale at No. 2 and BASIS Tucson North at No. 3.

To focus on student outcomes, U.S. News used graduation rates as a major factor — the first time graduation rates have been used to evaluate high schools at this scale. The 6,218 high schools to receive national recognition from U.S. News graduate their students at rates that are 15 percent higher, on average, than other schools across the country.

U.S. News also released new Best Charter Schools, Best Magnet Schools and individual statewide rankings.

In South Carolina, Charleston School of the Arts is ranked No. 2, and Wando is sixth.

To graduate, South Carolina high school students must complete 24 credits in various subjects, including one credit in computer science and another credit in either a foreign language or career and technology education. South Carolina 11th-graders generally take the ACT college entrance exam and WorkKeys test, according to the S.C. Department of Education.

U.S. News recognizes high schools with gold, silver and bronze medals, with gold medals indicating the greatest level of college readiness. There are two South Carolina schools with gold medals, 22 with silver medals and 37 with bronze medals, according the U.S. News website.

The full data on the rankings are available on usnews.com. The magazine used RTI International, a global research firm, to implement the comprehensive rankings methodology.