STATE EDUCATION REPORTS & RANKINGS
January 16, 2019 | Updated: September 4, 2019
Based on a comprehensive analysis of data, the Quality Counts report card answers a key question: Where does my state rank for educational opportunities and performance?
States are graded and ranked in three categories: Chance for Success (January), School Finance (June), and K-12 Achievement (September). A state’s overall grade, published in September, is the average of its scores on the three separate indices tracked for the report card.
This year, Alabama finishes 44th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with an overall score of 69.9 out of 100 points and a grade of C-minus. The nation as a whole posts a grade of C.
Diving into the findings for the three graded indices, Alabama earns a C in the Chance-for-Success category and ranks 45th. The average state earns a C-plus. In School Finance, Alabama receives a D-plus and ranks 36th. For the K-12 Achievement Index, it finishes 43rd with a grade of D-plus. The average state earns a grade of C in both School Finance and K-12 Achievement. More details on results in these categories are reported below.
The Education Week Research Center developed the Chance-for-Success Index to better understand the role that education plays in promoting positive outcomes across an individual’s lifetime. Based on an original state-by-state analysis, this index combines information from 13 indicators that span a person’s life from cradle to career. Those indicators fall into three sub-sections: early foundations, school years, and adult outcomes.
The index evaluates each state using a range of measuring sticks, including:
Diving into the findings, Alabama earns a C in the Chance-for-Success category and ranks 45th. The average state earns a C-plus.
For early foundations, which examines factors that help children get off to a good start, Alabama earns a B-minus and ranks 39th. The average state posts a B.
Alabama receives a D-plus for the school years, a sub-category focusing on metrics related to pre-k enrollment through postsecondary participation. It finishes 45th in the nation in this area. By comparison, the nation as a whole earns a C-plus.
In the area of adult outcomes, based on postsecondary educational attainment and workforce indicators, Alabama’s grade is a C. It ranks 42nd in the nation. The national average is a C-plus.
This year, Alabama finishes 36th out of 49 states receiving overall school finance rankings, with an overall score of 69.1 out of 100 points and a grade of D-plus. The nation as a whole posts a grade of C. Because they are single-district jurisdictions, the District of Columbia and Hawaii do not receive overall rankings for school finance, which analyzes the distribution of funding across districts within a state.
The school finance analysis examines two critical aspects of school spending. Of the eight indicators in this category, four assess school spending patterns, while the remaining metrics gauge equity in the distribution of funding across the districts within each state.
The spending metrics shed light on major questions, such as:
Across the spending indicators, Alabama finishes with an F compared with a national average of D. Alabama ranks 39th in the nation in this area.
For each state, topics covered by the equity analysis include:
On the equity measures, Alabama receives a B-plus, which places it 15th in the national rankings. The nation as a whole earns a B-plus.
The K-12 Achievement Index examines 18 distinct achievement measures related to reading and math performance, high school graduation rates, and the results of Advanced Placement exams. The index assigns equal weight to current levels of performance and changes over time. It also places an emphasis on equity, by examining both poverty-based achievement gaps and progress in closing those gaps.
Indicators in the index can be broken down into three sub-categories: status, change, and equity.
The index provides information on key questions, such as:
Measures in the status sub-category evaluate a state’s current performance. Alabama receives an F in this area and ranks 46th in the nation. The average state earns a D-plus.
The change sub-category examines a state’s improvement over time. In this area, Alabama posts a C-minus and ranks 19th. The national average is a C-minus.
In the equity sub-section, states are graded based on achievement gaps between low-income students and their more affluent peers. Alabama’s grade on those poverty-gap measures stands at a B. Nationally, it ranks 16th in this area. The nation as a whole receives a B.
Vol. 38, Issue 18