GreatSchools analyzed 17,589 cities from 49 states1 and the District of Columbia, using a combination of the most recently available K-12 public school student enrollment and test score data, along with 2010 median home price and population data. We narrowed the list by eliminating cities with populations under 10,000, fewer than five K-12 public schools, and unemployment rates higher than the state average.
The remaining cities were divided into five median home price categories and then ranked based on state standardized test scores and the most recent National Assessment for Educational Progress data (the only test that is given to a randomly-selected group of students in every state). NAEP data offers a good way to compare cities in one state to those in another — even though state standards differ.
1 Because there is no single, state-wide standardized test issued in Nebraska, cities from Nebraska were not eligible for consideration.