Published Online: January 3, 2006

Montana's State Highlights

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Vital Statistics
Public schools 858
Public school teachers 10,301
Pre-K-12 students 148,356
Annual pre-K-12 expenditures $1.1 billion
Minority students 14.9%
Children in poverty 19%
Students with disabilities 13%
English-language learners 4.5%

Summary of Grades

Montana scores below average on all four of the graded policy categories in Quality Counts.

The state lags far behind in standards and accountability, ranking second-to-last in the nation. Montana’s English, mathematics, and social studies standards have not been rated clear and specific by the American Federation of Teachers. In addition, the state does not sanction or provide assistance to all low-performing schools.

Montana also falls below average in efforts to improve teacher quality. Montana is one of only three states that do not require prospective teachers to pass basic-skills, subject-knowledge, or subject-specific-pedagogy tests for their initial licenses. Montana also lacks key policies for holding teacher-preparation institutions accountable for the success of their graduates in the classroom.

Montana outscores only a handful of states in school climate. Its grade suffers in this area partly because it lacks all of the schoolsafety policies that are tracked in Quality Counts. The state has no law that enforces specific penalties for school violence and no regulations or funding related to reducing school bullying or harassment.

Montana is among the lowest-performing states In resource equity. Its coefficient-of-variation score is second-to-worst in the nation, indicating a high level of disparity in per-pupil funding levels across school districts in the state.

State Policy Report Card
MontanaAvg. State Score
Standards and accountability D B-
Efforts to improve teacher quality D+ C+
School climate C- C+
Resource equity D- C
Overall Grade D C+
Quality Counts Grading Breakdown
Standards and accountability Points awardedPoints possible
Standards 19.17 40
Assessment 22.5 30
School accountability 21 30
63 100
Efforts to improve teacher quality Points awardedPoints possible
Teacher education and qualifications 25.9 35
Teacher assessment 15 30
Professional support and training 15 20
Accountability for teacher quality 11.55 15
67 100
School climate Points awardedPoints possible
Engagement 9.5 15
School safety 10.75 20
Parent involvement 12.15 15
Choice and autonomy 15 20
Class size 8.33 10
School size 10 10
School facilities 5 10
71 100
Resource equity Points awardedPoints possible
Wealth-neutrality score 25 33.3
McLoone Index 20.67 33.3
Coefficient of variation 16.67 33.3
62 100
Note: Details may not sum to totals due to rounding.

Vol. 25, Issue 17

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