Three Harford County high schools have placed on The Washington Post's 2011 America's Top High Schools list.

Patterson Mill, C. Milton Wright and Bel Air high schools all placed on the list, which grades public high schools around the nation based on how effectively they prepare students for college. Out of 1,904 schools graded, Patterson Mill placed the highest at 1212, followed by C. Milton Wright at 1370 and Bel Air at 1667.


The formula used to determine the rankings, according to The Post, was to divide the number of college level tests a high school administered in 2010, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate, by the number of graduating seniors.

The Post did admit that the formula couldn't measure a school's total quality, but did "reveal the level of a high school's commitment to preparing average students for college."

In general, Maryland did fairly well in what The Post calls its "High School Challenge" with 107 schools placing on the list.

The top five schools graded in Maryland were Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, ranking at 59 on the national list; Richard Montgomery High School, ranking at 65 on the national list; Poolesville High School, ranking at 69; Barbara Ingram School for the Arts at 72; and Walter Johnson High School with a ranking of 82. Four of the top five are in the Montgomery County school system; Barbara Ingram School in Hagerstown is in the Washington County system.

Out of 42 states that placed schools on The Post's list, Maryland had the third highest. Texas had 149 schools on the list, and New York followed closely with 145.

Two of the top five high schools in the list are in Dallas. The School of Science and Engineering Magnet and the Dallas Independent School District School for the Talented and Gifted placed first and second, respectively.

In third place was the Corbett Charter School, of Oregon, followed by BASIS Tucson of Arizona and Stanton College Preparatory School of Florida.