After a one-year hiatus from issuing state grades, the 19th annual edition of Quality Counts—Preparing to Launch: Early Childhood’s Academic Countdown—resumes Education Week’s long-standing tradition of grading the states on their performance. This year, those grades return in a newer, leaner form that focuses on outcomes rather than on policy and processes. A state’s overall grade is the average of its scores on the three separate indices tracked by the report.
This year, the District of Columbia finishes 38th in the national rankings, with an overall score of 70 out of 100 points and a grade of C-minus. The nation as a whole posts a grade of C. Diving into the findings for the individual graded indices, the District of Columbia earns a B-minus in the Chance-for-Success category and ranks 18th. The average state earns a C-plus. For the K-12 Achievement Index, the District finishes 50th with a grade of F. The average state earns a grade of C-minus in K-12 Achievement. Because the District of Columbia is a single-district jurisdiction, it is not issued a grade for school finance, which analyzes the distribution of funding across districts within a state.
Quality Counts 2015 also focuses on early-childhood education as its special theme, examining how new academic demands and accountability pressures are altering the learning environment for young children and the educators serving them. For this year’s report, the Education Week Research Center issued state and national grades for a new Early Education Index, which draws on an original analysis of participation in early-education programs, poverty-based gaps in enrollment, and trends over time.
The District of Columbia earns a B-plus and ranks first on the Early Education Index, which incorporates data from eight specific indicators. The nation as a whole earns a D-plus.
The District of Columbia’s 2014 Highlights Report includes the state’s full report card, including results for each of the nearly-40 indicators that make up Quality Counts’ overall grading rubric. This year’s State Highlights Report also includes the Early Education Index and a special analysis of data on enrollment in early-childhood programs.