Arkansas was rated fourth worst for the performance of its K-12 public education system in a study by the Cato Institute that challenges other influential rankings of student achievement.
Published in November, the Cato study contends other state rankings that have shaped public debates over education policy, including reports by U.S. News & World Report and Education Week, study factors that don’t have a direct bearing on student learning. These studies also lump diverse student populations together rather than comparing students in the same ethnic and socioeconomic groups who live in different states, the Cato study says.
The study authors say their rating provides a less biased evaluation of state public education systems than the more traditional rankings.
In terms of average aggregated scores based on academic tests administered by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), Arkansas ranked No. 43. The state ranked No. 38 on the U.S. News analysis.
States in New England and the Midwest tended to have lower rankings than what the other studies concluded, the Cato analysis says, while Southern and Southwestern states had higher rankings than in the more traditional studies. Moreover, Southern and Southwestern states scored a further rise in their rankings when efficiency in education spending is taken into account, according to Cato.
How Do States Measure Up on K-12 Student Learning?
|Quality Rank||State||Aggregated Rank||U.S. News Rank|
|5||District of Columbia||51||--|