Corrected: The Quality Counts 2016 report, published as the Jan. 7 issue of Education Week and online, included errors in the school finance analysis. This page has been revised to correct grades, scores, and rankings in summative results and school finance. Details are available at www.edweek.org/go/qc16correct.
The 20th annual edition of Quality Counts—Called to Account: New Directions in School Accountability—continues Education Week’s long-standing tradition of grading the states on their performance. A state’s overall grade is the average of its scores on the three separate indices tracked by the report.
This year, New Jersey finishes second among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with an overall score of 85.1 out of 100 points and a grade of B. The nation as a whole posts a grade of C.
Diving into the findings for the three graded indices, New Jersey earns a B-plus in the Chance-for-Success category and ranks third. The average state earns a C-plus. In School Finance, New Jersey receives a B and ranks fifth, while for the K-12 Achievement Index it finishes second with a grade of B-minus. The average state earns grades of C and C-minus in School Finance and K-12 Achievement, respectively.
Quality Counts 2016 also focuses on educational accountability as its special theme. The report examines how new state and federal strategies are transforming the assessment of school performance, and reshaping the consequences for poor results. As part of this project, the Education Week Research Center conducted an original analysis of student achievement in the No Child Left Behind era. The analysis highlights results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress from 2003 to 2015. It examines achievement, poverty-based gaps, and trends over time.
To shed light on student achievement in the NCLB era, the Education Week Research Center averaged NAEP scores for reading and math in grades 4 and 8 to create an overall proficiency rate for each state and the nation as a whole. The state’s combined proficiency rate stands at 44.1 percent for 2015, placing it fourth in the rankings. The nation as a whole posts a rate of 34.8 percent.
New Jersey’s 2016 Highlights Report includes results for each of the nearly-40 indicators that make up Quality Counts’ overall grading rubric. This year’s State Highlights Report also contains the special analysis of student achievement in the NCLB era.