Quality Counts' indicators have evolved over the past 20 years, shining a bright light on the U.S. education system.
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As Education Week's Quality Counts turns 20, the nation has posted a solid C—the same as last year—on the report's 2016 summative-grading indicator.
The report card has evolved through the years, taking on its current, streamlined form in 2015. That form incorporates state and national grades on three indices developed by the Education Week Research Center.
• The Chance-for-Success Index provides a cradle-to-career perspective on the role that education plays in promoting positive outcomes throughout a person's life.
• The K-12 Achievement Index rates states on current academic performance, change over time, and poverty-based gaps.
• The school finance analysis assesses spending patterns and equity.
The 2016 summative grade of C corresponds to a 74.4 out of 100, up slightly from 74.3 in 2015, when the nation also earned a C.
To score the states, the research center employs a "best-in-class" approach. For each indicator in a given category, the top state receives 100 points. All other states are awarded points based on their performance relative to that state. Category scores are calculated as the average of scores across indicators. A state's overall summative score is the average of the three graded categories. For the summative grades and the three categories, A-plus is the highest possible grade, and 100 is the highest possible score.
For the second year in a row, Massachusetts finished first. Long a fixture of the top five, the Bay State beat its own 2015 result, raising its grade from a B (86.2) to a B-plus (86.8). Although New Jersey (85.1), Vermont (83.8), and Maryland (82.7) all received grades of B, Massachusetts was the only state to score a B-plus.
Alexandra Harwin, Sterling C. Lloyd, Andrew Riemer, and Holly Yettick prepared this report.
Quality Counts 2016 Press Release (PDF)
Full Report and Rankings
Source: Education Week and The Education Week Research Center