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Best School Districts In Houston

Friendswood ISD, Katy ISD, Pearland ISD and Tomball ISD retained the top four positions held the previous year in this 2020 best school districts in Houston analysis with Pearland ISD and Tomball ISD switching places in the third and fourth positions. Barbers Hill ISD while moved into the fifth position pushing Conroe ISD out of the top five. Friendswood ISD and Katy ISD also ranked among the 25 top performing school districts in Texas.


2020 best Houston school districts

The data in this rankings table can be sorted by clicking on the table headings. You also can limit the display of information by typing the name of a school district in the Search box and can change the number of rows displayed by resetting default number in the Show entries box.

% students met criteria
AP / IBSATACTmetro area
1Friendswood ISD1080.6A9338.1%63.9%32.0%Friendswood
2Katy ISD1077.2A9239.4%55.3%23.5%Brookshire, Fulshear, Houston, Katy
3Pearland ISD1073.6B9136.8%51.3%16.7%Manvel, Pearland
4Tomball ISD1072.6A9232.3%43.9%17.8%Cypress, Pinehurst, Magnolia, Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball
5Barbers Hill ISD1071.3A9231.2%22.3%33.4%Baytown, Beach City, Cove, Mont Belvieu
6Conroe ISD1070.2B9030.2%43.4%23.8%Conroe, Montgomery, Shenandoah, Spring, The Woodlands
7Clear Creek ISD1069.5B8930.2%50.9%19.8%Clear Lake City, Clear Lake Shores, Dickinson, Friendswood, Houston, Kemah, League City, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, Taylor Lake, Taylor Lake Village, Webster
8Fort Bend ISD1068.0B8829.5%53.0%17.3%Elm Grove, Fresno, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosharon, Sugar Land
9Cypress-Fairbanks ISD1062.9B8820.2%33.0%21.8%Cypress, Houston
10Lamar CISD1062.8A8918.3%39.8%9.5%Katy, Rosenberg, Richmond, Fulshear, Sugar Land
11Spring Branch ISD1061.2B8229.9%51.1%23.1%Bunker Hill, Hedwig Village, Hunters Creek, Hunters Creek Village, Piney Point, Spring Valley
12Montgomery ISD960.8A9010.6%23.6%19.3%Conroe, Magnolia, Montgomery
13Magnolia ISD959.8B8330.3%39.2%16.6%Hockley, Magnolia, Montgomery, Pinehurst, Spring, The Woodlands
14Needville ISD958.9A8714.1%35.3%12.9%Damon, Guy, Needville, Richmond
15Klein ISD958.0B8517.6%42.0%9.9%Houston, Spring, Tomball

Source: Texas Education Agency

In order to compare the academic performance of the districts in precise and meaningful way, an academic performance index for all Texas independent school districts was constructed based on their STAAR assessment results and multiple college readiness measurements, as described in the Methodology discussion provided below. Based on its relative position in the overall academic performance index, each district also has been assigned an academic performance score with the top 10 percent of Texas school districts receiving an academic performance score of 10, districts in the next lower, ninth decile districts received a score of 9, and so on.

The Texas Education Agency 2019 Accountability Manual describes the methodology used by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to award district and campus accountability ratings and explains specifically how the four metrics used in this study to rank the academic performance of Texas school districts are derived. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) metric is the cumulative scaled score of all STAAR assessments administered to district students during the 2018-2019 school year. The Advance Placement / International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) and the SAT and ACT college admission tests metrics are the number of students meeting college-ready criteria specified in the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), a state-legislated program to improve student success in college.

Accountability ratings awarded by the TEA in were not considered in this analysis since these ratings also take into account multiple factors that generally have no meaningful linkage to the academic performance of individual students, such as graduation rates, students enlisting in the military and changes in student performance on the STAAR evaluations from one year to the next. Those factors may be meaningful to administrators and teachers, but not to most parents or students. Also not considered in this study are frequently and sometimes purposefully misleading subjective factors such as opinions of self-selected contributors of anonymous parent and student reviews and "expert insights" regarding teacher quality.

Objective fact-based analyses that rank more than 900 Houston area public high schools, middle schools and elementary schools operated by the districts included in this analysis and compare campus student achievement indexes, STAAR results and TEA accountability ratings are available on these best Houston high schools, best Houston middle schools and best Houston elementary schools pages. Lists of the top ranked high schools, middle schools and elementary schools are shown on this best Houston schools page. You may find the information on this more about Houston school districts page to also be useful.


Within each evaluation category, the top ranked Texas school district was awarded the maximum points allocated to that category and all other districts were awarded a proportional number of points based on how their individual scores compared to the score of the top ranked district. Scores from both evaluation categories were then added together to arrive at the district's academic performance index.

Performance on STAAR tests: 60 points

A maximum of 60 points was awarded based on the percentage of a district's students meeting the TSI achievement standards on the STAAR reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies subject assessments. As is explained in the Texas Education Agency Accountability Manual, the STAAR score shown in the table above is calculated by first adding equal weightings of the percentage of assessments on which students’ performance mastered grade level, met grade level and approached grade level, dividing the sum by 3 and rounding it to the nearest whole percentage. The TEA refers to this as the raw STAAR component score. This raw score is then adjusted or “scaled” by using a conversion table to align letter grades and raw component scores of Texas public school districts and campuses. Because the precision of the scaled STAAR score is significantly diminished but otherwise unchanged for comparison purposes by this process, the unrounded raw STAAR component score is used in this analysis to measure relative performance on the STAAR tests.

College readiness indicators: 40 points

A maximum of 20 points was awarded based on percentage of students in grades 11-12 participating and successfully completing Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. The district with the highest scores on the College Board AP examinations or International Baccalaureate Foundation examinations in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies was awarded a maximum of 20 points. A maximum of 20 points also was awarded to the district with the top SAT and ACT scores. The college readiness index for each district was calculated by aggregating the scores for all high schools in the district, weighted by the number of students attending each school. A complete description of the college readiness evaluation methodology used in both this and the Houston area high schools ranking studies, along with the AP, IB, SAT and ACT data used in these analyses, is provided on this Houston high schools page.


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