CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator
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Vol. 45, No. 2
January 11, 2011

Despite Average Grades, State Education Department Aims for Top 10

The annual “Quality Counts” report card released today shows Missouri has slightly improved its standing since last year. The state nudged its overall grade from a “C-minus” to a “C” and its national ranking from 42 to 38.  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education expects to bring home a much better report card in future years.

“Our state has the potential to be within the top 10 by 2020, if not before, on ‘Quality Counts’ and other comparative national reports,” Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro said.  “Education leaders and other stakeholders statewide are working to ensure that a top-tier public education system is available for our students, parents and communities.”

The “Quality Counts” report is Education Week’s annual update on state-level efforts to improve public education.  States are evaluated on 53 distinct indicators in six categories of education policy and performance.

The department expects to score better on future reports in such areas as improved academic performance as measured by national assessments, a focus on college and career readiness, increased use of Advanced Placement tests for college credit, strengthening educator quality, achieving course alignment with the postsecondary system, and developing policies to ensure successful transitions into kindergarten and college.

The 2011 grading summary for Missouri is:

Chance for success

C+

K-12 achievement

D+

Transitions and alignment

C-

School finance analysis

C-

Standards, assessments and accountability

B-

The teaching profession

C

The nation as a whole earned a “C,” the same grade as last year.  The majority of states received overall grades of “C-plus” or lower.  For the third year in a row, Maryland was the top-ranked state, earning the nation’s highest overall grade of a “B-plus.”  Massachusetts and New York followed closely behind, each receiving a “B.” 

A special focus of this year’s “Quality Counts” was the impact of economic conditions on the nation’s schools.  Researchers also explored the central role of education in the recovery.