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Georgia ranks 17th nationally in K-12 achievement

The K-12 Achievement Index is one indicator in the Quality Counts report that measures key education outcomes

ATLANTA — Georgia’s K-12 Achievement ranks 17th in the nation, according to an Education Week report released Thursday. The K-12 Achievement Index is one indicator in the Quality Counts report that measures key education outcomes and provides ranks and grades for each state based on their commitment to improve educational policies and practices.

In previous years, the Quality Counts report gave states an overall ranking (Georgia ranked 7th in the nation for the past two years) but it does not compile overall state rankings this year. States are only ranked on the six individual indicators.

The K-12 Achievement Index examines 18 state achievement measures related to reading and math performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), high school graduation rates, and the results of Advanced Placement exams. It also looks at poverty-based achievement gaps and progress in closing those gaps.

“The report that Education Week produces shows a marked difference from the stereotype most people think of with Georgia’s K-12 Achievement,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “When looking at more than one indicator, it is clear that Georgia’s students are performing at higher levels than many of their peers across the nation, especially those in the other southeastern states. Our students and teachers don’t get enough credit for the great work they are doing in the classroom.”

K-12 Achievement Index Highlights

— Achievement Gains: 4th grade reading (scale score change on NAEP from 2003-2013 — Ranked 5th in the nation

— Poverty Gap: Math gap change (8th grade NAEP from 2003-2013) — Ranked 5th in the nation

— High School Graduation: Ten-year change in graduation rate — Ranked 10th in the nation

— Advanced Placement: Change in AP scores (change in high scores per 100 students — Ranked 5th in the nation; High AP test scores (scores of 3 or higher per 100 students) – Ranked 9th in the nation

For the second consecutive year, Georgia was also ranked first in the nation with a score of 100 in the Transitions and Alignment category on the annual “Quality Counts” report. Georgia’s score comes from the state enacting the 14 policies examined by Education Week, including curriculum alignment from prekindergarten through college and programs to help students not meeting school-readiness benchmarks.

That work started with the Alliance for Education Agency Heads, which is composed of Georgia government agencies and departments: the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, the Georgia Department of Education, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the Georgia Student Finance Commission and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The group has been working since 2005 to create a smooth education pipeline from preschool through college and to unite the education community in Georgia.

In the report, Georgia also ranked 18th in the nation and received an A- for Standards, Assessments, and Accountability. This section of the report looks at each state’s academic standards in English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Georgia received a perfect 100 for standards, compared to the national average of 87.3. The Standards, Assessments, and Accountability section of the report also evaluates states’ assessments and accountability systems, such as Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index.

Another section where Georgia performed well was the Teaching Profession, where Georgia ranked 10th in the nation for its efforts to improve teaching. Specific areas evaluated in this section of the report include Accountability for Quality, Incentives and Allocation, and Building and Supporting Capacity.