On Jan. 13, Education Week released its 2011 “Quality Counts” report, offering highly respected grades of states on multiple aspects of education conditions, policies and results.

This year’s edition focuses on how states are coping with smaller P-12 education budgets, the effect of federal stimulus dollars and the forecast for the future.

Education Week has moved to a biennial rating system, meaning that not every item is updated each year. The 2011 edition provides ratings in five areas:

  • the overall score, which includes data from the areas reported in 2010 and 2011
  • K-12 Achievement
  • transitions and alignment
  • school finance
  • the Chance for Success index

States received letter and numerical grades (on a scale of 0-100) in the five categories.  Kentucky’s overall grade of C- placed the state 19th among the 50 states. As a whole, “Quality Counts” gave the country a grade of D+.

The top-performing states in the K-12 Achievement Category were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Vermont and New Hampshire. Kentucky ranked 19th overall in this category.

The top-performing states in the Transitions and Alignment category were Arkansas, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Kentucky ranked 14th overall in this category.

The School Finance category had two subcategories: Equity and Spending. Variables taken into account included per-pupil spending, a state’s wealth-neutrality score and percent of taxable resources spend on education. Kentucky’s rank among states in the School Finance category was 35th. The five highest-ranking states were Wyoming, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

The Chance for Success index gives the leading state 100 points on a particular indicator. Other states earn or lose points in proportion to the gaps between them and the leader.

From 2010 to 2011, Kentucky improved its standings in the following Chance for Success indicators:

  • Overall Grade
  • Parent Education
  • Preschool Enrollment
  • Kindergarten Enrollment
  • Elementary Reading
  • Postsecondary Participation
  • Adult Educational Attainment

Kentucky lost ground or remained stable on the following indicators:

  • Family Income
  • Parental Employment
  • Linguistic Integration
  • Middle School Math
  • High School Graduation
  • Annual Income
  • Steady Employment

“Quality Counts” looked at a number of indicators to develop overall grades, and Kentucky’s performance on those indicators was mixed.

  • 11th in the percentage proficient in 4th-grade reading
  • 12th in the gap in grade 4 reading scale scores between students who qualify for the federal lunch program and those who do not
  • 14th in the gap in 8th-grade mathematics scale scores between students in those same groups
  • 19th in the percentage proficient in grade 8 reading
  • 26th in 2009 Advanced Placement scores of 3 or higher per 100 students in grades 11 and 12
  • 28th in 2007 high school graduation rate (calculated using the EPE Research Center’s Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) formula)
  • 35th in the percentage proficient in grade 4 mathematics
  • 38th in the percentage proficient in grade 8 mathematics
  • 40th in the percentage advanced in 2009 grade 8 mathematics

Quality Counts 2011
Kacy Sellers, CommDesk@epe.org, (301) 280-3227