The Pelican State ranks 46th and received a D- grade by Education Week in its 2018 K-12 Achievement Index. First published in January and recently updated with federal data, the Index provides a comprehensive assessment of student performance including in math and reading proficiency at the fourth and eighth grade level, high school graduation rates and advanced placement (AP) levels and test scores.
The “Quality Counts 2018: Report And Rankings” says that this year’s assessment “paints a portrait of middling performance overall with patches of high achievement, along with perennial struggles to improve on the part of states mired at the bottom.”
Its A to F grade reflects the average score states received on a 100-point scale in three key indices: Chance for Success (2018), School Finance (2018), and K-12 Achievement (last updated in 2016). Overall, the education system nationwide received a C grade and 29 states earned grades between C+ and C-.
Louisiana earned a C- grade in the Chance for Success category, ranking 46th. The average state earns a C+. In the School Finance category, Louisiana received a C- grade, also ranking 46th. For the K-12 Achievement Index, it finished 46th with a D grade. The average state earned C grades in both categories.
The states with the top overall scores are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, New York and Minnesota. Massachusetts was the only state that received a B+ grade. New Jersey received the only B and Virginia the only B- grade.
The states with the bottom overall scores are South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada. New Mexico and Louisiana received the nation’s lowest grades of a D+.
Based on an original state-by-state analysis, the Chance-for-Success Index combines information from 13 indicators that span a person’s life within three sub-sections: early foundations, school years, and adult outcomes.
For early foundations, Louisiana earned a C grade compared to the average state B- grade. Louisiana received a D+ grade for the school years, a sub-category focusing on metrics related to pre-K enrollment through postsecondary participation.
In the area of adult outcomes, based on postsecondary educational attainment and workforce indicators, Louisiana received a C- grade.
The school finance analysis reviewed eight indicators, half of which focus on school spending patterns and the other half on equity in the distribution of funding across the the districts within each state. Louisiana scored higher here, receiving a B.
The K-12 Achievement Index examines 18 distinct achievement measures related to reading and math performance, including high school graduation rates and AP test results. In this category, Louisiana received an F grade.
When assessing Louisiana’s improvement over time, Education Week gave Louisiana a D. But when it comes to equity, based on achievement gaps between low-income students and their more affluent peers, Louisiana received a B grade, the same as the national grade.
Sydni Dunn, with the Louisiana Department of Education, told Watchdog News, “Louisiana has made steady but considerable progress over time. But there exist persistent struggles, such as gaps among our historically disadvantaged student groups and their peers, as well as our students’ grasp of fundamental literacy and math skills. As we continue to implement Louisiana’s plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, we must maintain clear communication about these barriers and about our progress in overcoming them.
To improve in this school year and beyond she said, “The state will award millions of dollars in federal grants to struggling schools to implement tailored improvement strategies, and ensure school systems can identify and adopt top-tier instructional materials and provide teachers with training on how to effectively use them.”
This story was first published by Watchdog.org.