In a slight improvement over last year, Maine high schools rank seventh in the nation in student achievement, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Last year, the state was eighth in the rankings, which are based on graduation rates for the schools and on student performance on state proficiency tests, Advanced Placement exams and International Baccalaureate tests. It was the first time the magazine considered graduation rates as part of its methodology.

Four Maine schools were among the top 500 schools nationwide: Yarmouth High School (251), Cape Elizabeth High School (335), Falmouth High School (345) and Brewer High School (496).

Several Maine schools on this year’s list were not ranked last year, including Portland’s Casco Bay High School, Mt. Abram Regional High School, Marshwood High School in South Berwick, Madison Area Memorial High School and Caribou High School.

Two years ago, Maine was the top-ranked state in the country for student achievement, but the methodology has changed.

The No. 1-ranked state in the country for 2016 was Maryland, which was also the top state last year. Maryland had nearly 29 percent of its schools earn top honors. It was followed by Connecticut, California, Florida, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia and Maine. After Maine, which had 19.3 percent of its schools get top honors, the top 10 was rounded out with Utah, Rhode Island and New York.

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CORRECTION: The story was updated at 2:28 p.m. on April 19, 2016, to clarify the previous rankings of some Maine schools.