10 of the Most Challenging High Schools in Illinois

A new report was released ranking the nation's most challenging high schools, and 72 schools in Illinois made the cut.

The Washington Post ranked more than 2,300 high schools based on a formula it calls the "Challenge Index" ratio, which is calculated by taking the total number of advanced placement, international baccalaureate and advanced international certificate of education tests administered at a school in 2014 and dividing by the number of seniors who graduated that same year.

Schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.00 means they had as many tests in 2014 as they had graduates, but only 11 percent of the roughly 22,000 public high schools in the U.S. reached that standard and earned a spot on the list, according to the Washington Post.

From the Washington Post on its methodology:

The Challenge Index is designed to identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests. It does not work with schools that have no, or almost no, average students. We put those schools on our Public Elites list.

Here are the top 20 most challenging Illinois high schools, nearly all of which are among the top 3 percent nationally. Below each school is their national rank, percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career -- referred to as equity and excellence (E&E), percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies and the Challenge Index ratio.

20. Hinsdale South High School

National rank: 665
E&E: 43.10%
Subs. Lunch: 27.0%
Challenge Index: 2.938

19. Glenbard South High School

National rank: 664
E&E: 37.60%
Subs. Lunch: 24.60%
Challenge Index: 2.938

18. Westmont High School

National rank: 604
E&E: 32.0%
Subs. Lunch: 41.0%
Challenge Index: 3.053

17. Evanston Township High School

National rank: 584
E&E: 47.0%
Subs. Lunch: 41.0%
Challenge Index: 3.086

16. Elk Grove High School

National rank: 567
E&E: 48.4%
Subs. Lunch: 40.9%
Challenge Index: 3.116

15. Grayslake Central High School

National rank: 558
E&E: 94.0%
Subs. Lunch: 13.0%
Challenge Index: 3.136

14. Jones College Prep High School

National rank: 521
E&E: 79.4%
Subs. Lunch: 46.0%
Challenge Index: 3.223

13. John Hersey High School

National rank: 520
E&E: 63.7%
Subs. Lunch: 18.7%
Challenge Index: 3.226

12. Buffalo Grove High School

National rank: 496
E&E: 50.8%
Subs. Lunch: 22.5%
Challenge Index: 3.283

11. Hinsdale Central High School

National rank: 483
E&E: 59.0%
Subs. Lunch: 6.0%
Challenge Index: 3.311

Check out Reboot Illinois to see the top 10 most challenging high schools in Illinois.

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