Published Online: January 3, 2006

Utah's State Highlights

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Vital Statistics
Public schools 886
Public school teachers 22,147
Pre-K-12 students 495,981
Annual pre-K-12 expenditures $2.4 billion
Minority students 16.5%
Children in poverty 13%
Students with disabilities 11.6%
English-language learners 10%

Summary of Grades

Utah earns an above-average grade in only one of the four graded policy categories in Quality Counts.

The state’s score for standards and accountability falls just below average. Utah earns high marks for its academic standards but shows room for improvement in both assessments and school accountability. While the state has assessments aligned with its standards in three of the four core subjects, its tests rely heavily on multiple-choice items. In addition, the state does not sanction or provide assistance to all of its low-performing schools nor does it reward its high-performing or improving schools.

Utah’s teacher quality score is also below average, in part, because it is one of only three states that do not require aspiring teachers to pass any type of written test to earn an initial license. The state also falls behind on efforts to hold schools and teacher-training programs accountable for teacher quality. For example, the state includes limited information about teacher quality on school report cards.

The state also earns a below-average grade in school climate. Utah does well on indicators of school choice, class size, and facilities, but loses points for school size and student engagement.

Utah’s best showing comes in resource equity, where it ranks near the top of the nation. Its wealth-neutrality score shows that Utah’s poorer districts tend to have higher per-pupil funding levels than its wealthier districts, a pattern found in only 10 states.

State Policy Report Card
Utah Avg. State Score
Standards and accountability C+ B-
Efforts to improve teacher quality C- C+
School climate C C+
Resource equity B+ C
Overall Grade C+ C+
Quality Counts Grading Breakdown
Standards and accountability Points awardedPoints possible
Standards 37.92 40
Assessment 18.07 30
School accountability 21 30
77 100
Efforts to improve teacher quality Points awardedPoints possible
Teacher education and qualifications 25.9 35
Teacher assessment 21 30
Professional support and training 14.55 20
Accountability for teacher quality 10.5 15
72 100
School climate Points awardedPoints possible
Engagement 8.83 15
School safety 14.17 20
Parent involvement 12.6 15
Choice and autonomy 17.5 20
Class size 9.48 10
School size 5 10
School facilities 7.5 10
75 100
Resource equity Points awardedPoints possible
Wealth-neutrality score 33.33 33.3
McLoone Index 30.67 33.3
Coefficient of variation 22.67 33.3
87 100
Note: Details may not sum to totals due to rounding.

Vol. 25, Issue 17

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