Florida Ranking Improves in 2017 Quality Counts Report

Author: Michelle Boehm, Research and Evaluation Analyst

February 1, 2017

Education Week recently released its 21st annual Quality Counts report, Under Construction: Building on ESSA’s K-12 Foundation. The annual report features state rankings and grades with this year’s theme highlighting state progress in implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act.

According to the report, Florida performed on par with the nation with a grade of C. The state moved up one spot from the previous year, ranking 29th nationally. Massachusetts received the highest ranking this year with a B, and Nevada ranked lowest with a D. 
State rankings and grades are based on three indices (Chance for Success, School Finance, and K-12 Achievement). The K-12 Achievement index includes measures related to performance and equity on indicators such as reading and math performance and high school graduation rates. The School Finance index examines school spending patterns and equity in funding distributions. Finally, the Chance for Success index includes 13 indicators spanning cradle to career (i.e., early foundations, school years and adult outcomes). A state’s overall grade is comprised of the average of its scores on these three indices.

Florida received the following grades/rankings on each index:

Florida highlights from the 2017 Quality Counts Report include:
Florida continues to rank low nationally on school spending.

  • Florida received an F on the spending portion of the School Finance index, compared to a national average of D.  The state’s 2014 per-pupil-expenditure was $9,585 compared to a national average of $12,156.
  • At the same time, the state received an A- on the equity portion (e.g., disparity in spending across school districts) of the School Finance index, ranking first in the nation.

While many Florida students continue to struggle academically, the state has shown significant progress over time:

  • Florida student achievement gains on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments in 4th grade reading, 4th grade math, and 8th grade reading are some of the greatest in the nation (from 2003-2015).
  • Florida has shown great progress in decreasing achievement gaps on NAEP between low-income students and their more affluent peers. Nationally, the state ranked third in closing poverty achievement gaps.
  • Florida’s graduation rate increased by almost 12 percent from 2002 to 2012 compared to an eight percent gain, nationally.

“We are pleased to see the progress that Florida is making toward improving student achievement and in ranking third in the nation in closing the low-income achievement gap,”  said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation.  “The state should be commended for its efforts in this area, and continue to work on ensuring that every student, regardless of zip code, receives a high-quality education, preparing them for success in college and career.” 

The 2017 Quality Counts report highlights Florida’s strengths in addition to the significant amount of work to be done in the state across the education spectrum.  Helios Education Foundation believes every individual in Arizona and Florida should have the opportunity to attend and be prepared to succeed in postsecondary education. In order to create these opportunities, the Foundation strategically partners with organizations and institutions to improve student academic preparedness across the education continuum. Helios Education Foundation uses data such as those presented in the Quality Counts report to inform its work and gauge education progress across the two states.

To read more about the Quality Counts report, click here.

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