About These Reports
The 13th annual edition of Education Week’s Quality Counts continues to track state policies across key areas of education and maintains the cradle-to-career framework launched in 2007. With English-language learners as its special focus, Quality Counts 2009 for the first time details state policies to support this diverse group of students. This year’s installment also provides updated 50-state information on policies and conditions in three of the areas monitored by the report on an ongoing basis: the Chance-for-Success Index, transitions and alignment policies, and school finance. Most of the indicators that appear in Quality Counts are based on original analyses and state-survey data from the EPE Research Center. The report also supplements those data with information published by other organizations.
In past years, the print edition of Quality Counts has provided an annual update on state policy initiatives in several key areas and has also used original data analyses to track state educational progress and performance in three other areas. This year, Quality Counts moves to a modular research design in which the EPE Research Center will survey the states about policy issues on an every-other-year rotation. This approach is intended to lessen the burden on state respondents while still providing timely information on key educational policy developments.
In order to provide a comprehensive perspective on state policy and performance, the 2009 State Highlights Reports integrate findings across two years of indicators reported in the 2008 and 2009 editions of Quality Counts. States receive an overall letter grade spanning all six categories that constitute Quality Counts’ analytic framework: Chance for Success; transitions and alignment; school finance; K-12 achievement; standards, assessments, and accountability; and the teaching profession.
Quality Counts 2009 includes a special in-depth examination of the condition of English-language learners in the nation’s schools. As is customary, indicators related to the issue’s special research and journalistic focus are not graded.
Overall findings from Quality Counts show that some states perform consistently well or poorly across the full range of graded categories. However, a closer examination of the rankings reveals that most states post a strong showing in at least one area. This suggests that while broad evaluations of state performance can be useful, a more thorough reading of the results presented in this State Highlights Report will provide a more nuanced perspective on the educational condition of the nation and of individual states.
Editorial Projects in Education Research Center January 2009