New Jersey continues to lead the nation in education quality and performance according to Education Week magazine’s annual report card of states. The survey, "Quality Counts 2011," evaluates and ranks the states on key education indicators, including achievement results, school finance, and other factors critical to student success.
Among the highlights of New Jersey's performance on "Quality Counts 2011" are:
An "A-" grade on the Chance for Success index, which measures 13 indicators that have a significant impact on whether children succeed in school. New Jersey has the highest percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds in preschool programs in the nation, one of the Chance for Success factors.
A second place finish, behind Massachusetts, on achievement, as measured by student performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and high school graduation. New Jersey won high marks on NAEP at both the fourth and eighth grade levels and has the highest graduation rate (83.3%) in the nation.
Among the highest rates for closing the achievement gap between low-income and non-low-income students between 2003 and 2008. New Jersey narrowed the achievement gap 4.2% at the fourth grade level and 4.1% at the eighth grade level, as measured by NAEP scores
A grade of B+ for the state's school funding system, as measured by various indexes of education spending. New Jersey would score even higher if the Quality Counts methodology rewarded the state for providing more funding to higher poverty districts.
Quality Counts provided an overall grade for each state, based on six indicies ranging from teaching and achievement to standards and school finances. Maryland scored highest with a B+ grade, and New Jersey rated seventh best overall, with a B- grade. The overall national average was a grade of C.