WASHINGTON – If the country's educational system was in high school,it wouldn't have a very good grade point average.
A study released Thursday gave the nation a C. The study looked at six areas of policy and performance.
Maryland ranked highest overall with a B+ and score of 87.5 out of a possible 100. The District of Columbia scored lowest with a D+ at 68.3,followed closely by Nevada and Nebraska.
This was the 14th annual Quality Counts education report card compiled by Education Week.
The report shows states earning their highest grades in policies related to assessments,standards and accountability.
This was the first year every state had academic content standards for English,math,science and history. The nation earned a B in this area,with 20 states receiving an A or A-.
Although all states now have basic standards,only 18 have detailed standards for all subjects and the standards vary widely,said Christopher Swanson,vice president of research and development for Editorial Projects in Education,the publisher of Education Week.
The study also revealed large gaps in the Math Progress Index between the highest and lowest performing states. There was a 27-point gap between top-scoring Massachusetts and Louisiana,which ranked last. That's the equivalent of two to three letter grades,Swanson said.
The nation overall scored a dismal D on the MPI,earning 64.7 points. Even top-ranked Massachusetts scored only 78.2 points.
The report also highlighted the difference in achievement levels between low-income students and their more affluent peers.
“In this country,inequality is growing,” said Linda Darling-Hammond,professor of education at Stanford University. According to the report,poverty gaps haven't closed for half the nation,and poor students in almost every state are less likely to have experienced math teachers.
The Quality Counts report also showed how many states learn lessons from others. Thirty states were cited as influencing another state at least once,and California,Indiana and Massachusetts were named at least 10 times each.
Fewer states took the chance to learn from international educational rivals. Singapore's mathematical standards were mentioned by eight states,while Japan,Finland and Hong Kong were also cited multiple times.