Special Report
Student Achievement

Schools Straddle the Pandemic and Familiar Headwinds in Quest to Boost Quality

September 01, 2021 1 min read
Illustration of C letter grade
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

This third and final installment of Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report card on the nation’s schools lands at a time of frustration and uncertainty for educators welcoming students back for another school year dominated by COVID-19’s disruption.

School and district leaders are in the spotlight as never before, making high-stakes decisions about students’ health and safety with parents, politicians, and the public looking over their shoulders. At the same time, they’re still responsible for moving the needle on student achievement despite stubborn, baked-in challenges involving equity, resources, bureaucracy, and unprecedented societal friction.

That tension is reflected in the latest report, which quantifies the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s K-12 system based on federal data and other sources, and digs into how the pandemic is affecting families of school-age children in ways that reverberate in the classroom and beyond.

The report’s centerpiece: the national and state-by-state summative grades and rankings. These are derived by the EdWeek Research Center from mostly pre-pandemic era data on school finance, K-12 achievement, and socioeconomic factors fundamental to lifelong success, academic and otherwise.

Complementing that annual report card is analysis of a U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse survey from April, at a time when schools had not yet closed for summer break, providing insights into how American families were faring in key areas including ed-tech and teacher as the 2020-21 school year came to an end.

For those seeking greater detail on how the nation and each of the states scored on the entire suite of indicators that make up their Quality Counts 2021 grades and rankings, download the EdWeek Research Center’s exclusive State Highlights Reports (edw.link/QC2021overall).
— The Editors

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 2021 edition of Education Week as Schools Straddle the Pandemic and Familiar Headwinds in Quest to Boost Quality


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Achievement Spotlight Spotlight on Tutoring
This Spotlight will empower you with information on considerations and strategies for designing high-impact tutoring programs and more.
Student Achievement Research Center Reports High-Achieving, Low-Income Graduates in a Pandemic: Results of a National Survey
The EdWeek Research Center surveyed high-achieving graduates to assess the pandemic’s impact on their lives. This report details findings.
Student Achievement The Pandemic Hit Vulnerable Students Hardest. Now, Schools Have to Reckon With the Effects
A new report from McKinsey & Company demonstrates that schools are beginning an uneven COVID recovery process.
6 min read
Illustration of two individuals walking across valley. One walking easily across a bridge and the other walking a tightrope.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Achievement From Our Research Center Low Test Scores Have Educators Worried, Survey Shows
Still, some educators say the scores aren't useful tools in planning for academic recovery.
5 min read
Illustration of man with magnifying glass looking at data