Kentucky ranks 19th nationally in overall K-12 achievement in the 2011 Quality Counts report by Education Week magazine.
But the state ranked considerably lower in several other measures, earning an overall grade of "C," and finishing 34th nationally, according to the Education Week. The Quality Counts report offers an annual evaluation of the state of education in the country.
The nation as a whole earned an overall grade of "C," on the report, with Education Week noting that education systems at the national and state levels are still struggling to recover from the economic downturn that started more than two years ago.
In 2008, the last time Quality Counts included measures of K-12 achievement, Kentucky ranked 33rd nationally, according to Kacy Sellers, a spokeswoman for Education Week.
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Susan Weston, an analyst for Kentucky's Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, said the latest K-12 ranking shows the state has progressed but needs to do more.
"We used to think of ourselves as behind the U.S.," Weston said. "Now, we're in the middle of the pack or maybe slightly ahead."
In other measures in the report, Kentucky ranked 38th nationally in providing students with opportunities to succeed; 41st in standards, assessment and accountability and 35th in school finance. It got a "C" in all of those categories. Kentucky's one "B" was in teaching profession, where it ranked 15th.
Maryland was the top-ranked state in the report for the third straight year, getting a grade of "B-plus." Massachusetts and New York were next, each getting a "B." Most states got a "C-plus" or lower.