A big question is whether state K-12 policies adopted over the past decade have made any difference in raising student achievement or closing achievement gaps.
An analysis conducted for Quality Counts 2006 by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center found a positive relationship between states that had pursued a standards-based education agenda—including the adoption of state academic-content standards, tests, and accountability systems for schools based on test results—and gains in student achievement.
But preliminary analyses found a slight negative relationship between state efforts to improve teacher quality and student-achievement gains. And there was no relationship between state education finance indicators and student-achievement trends, after taking into account initial performance differences across states.
In part, for those reasons, Quality Counts 2007 is taking a one-year hiatus from grading the states and from including indicators related to either teacher quality or school finance. Instead, the report’s staff will use the coming year to rethink those indicators and to reach out to the broader community in doing so. In addition to hosting several meetings in collaboration with other groups to discuss future indicators, the staff will post discussion papers on the EPE Research Center’s Web site for reaction and commentary.