Annual ‘Quality Counts’ Report Released This Week


A national report card based on state education policy and performance has given Missouri a grade of D in student achievement, a C- minus in school finance and a C-plus for providing students with a chance for success.

The “Quality Counts 2014” report released Thursday, gave Missouri a score of 66 for student achievement, below the national average of 70.2, based on student scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam. Missouri scored 70.5 for school finance based on equity and per-student spending. The average school finance score was 75.5.

There was a bright spot in students’ chance for success. Missouri scored 82.2 in early foundations, which encompasses family income, parents’ education and employment, and parents’ English proficiency. The U.S. average for early foundations was 79.2. Missouri’s chance-for-success scores dropped during school years and in adult outcomes. Missouri scored 75.9 compared with the average of 76.2 during school years and scored 73.9 in adult outcomes compared with the national average of 77.

“These results emphasize the importance of focusing our efforts on improving the quality of education for all students,” said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. “The state’s Top 10 by 20 goals are reachable, and we owe it to our kids to get there.”

The report shows more Missouri 4th and 8th graders scored proficient in the math portion of NAEP testing from 2003 to 2013, and the percentage of 4th graders scoring proficient in reading also increased. Reading scores among 8th graders were down slightly over the comparison period, by 0.1 percent. High school graduation rates in Missouri were up from 2000 to 2010, as were the number of high scores (3 or above) in advanced placement testing.

In contrast to previous years, no overall grade was given. There are six topics reviewed for the report; only three of those were updated this year. The remaining topics – transition and alignment; standards, assessments and accountability; and the teaching profession – were not updated for 2014. 

This year’s “Quality Counts” report focuses on district disruption and revival and includes features on:

The rise of charter schools and virtual education, and the competitive challenge school choice models pose to established districts.

The political tensions that arise as state and federal officials take an active role in education policy in ways that can affect local districts.
Snapshots of five distinctly different districts – from urban to small town, including Missouri’s Cape Girardeau – and the ways those districts are dealing with unique circumstances that affect education in their communities.

The "Quality Counts" report is published annually by the Editorial Projects in Education, a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness about education issues in America.