Highlights from Education Week’s 2016 Quality Counts Report


January 7, 2016

By Marianne Lombardo

Education Week’s annual Quality Counts Report explores different themes throughout the years – such as standards, teaching, early childhood, special education, finance, globalization, and discipline.

The 20th edition, Quality Counts 2016, “Called to Account: New Directions in School Accountability”, takes a deep look at education accountability, an extremely important topic as the nation transitions to new accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The report:

  • Examines changes in student demographics and achievement since 2003.
  • Grades the states by computing a Chance-for-Success Index, a K-12 Achievement Index, and a school finance analysis for each state, and
  • Explores changes in accountability systems we’ll see with the new federal law, where having good data to compare states will be more important than ever.

In a nutshell:

  • The student population became more racially and ethnically diverse and more economically disadvantaged;
  • Achievement levels for all demographic groups rose slowly over time;
  • Achievement gaps between low-income students and their more advantaged peers increased slightly (about 4 percentage points);
  • Achievement gaps between black students and their white peers stayed roughly the same;
  • Achievement gaps between American Indian and Latino students, and their White, non-Hispanic peers decreased by roughly 50%;
  • Massachusetts and other Northeastern states rank high, whereas southern and southwestern states tend to rate lower; and
  • DC improved more than any of the 50 states.

2016 Quality Counts