More than a third of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, which are the most educated states in the nation, are doing better than the national average in terms the quality of their education, according to a new report released Wednesday.
The report from the National Center for Education Statistics found that more than half of states have improved their state-to-state test scores since the last academic year.
But it noted that the state-by-state score gap remains significant.
The gap in education is particularly pronounced in California, New York and Massachusetts, which all rank among the 10 best states in terms, per education-policy experts.
The state-wide average score on the Common Core State Standards test has improved over the past decade, while the state’s average test score has dropped by nearly 2 points over that time.
In the 10 states where the report looked at data from last year, the average score is about 8 points higher than the average test scores in all 50 states, the report found.
The latest report from NCEES, which is part of the National Governors Association, surveyed states and districts in the fall of 2019 and found that the average state-per-capita test score improved by about 1.6 points over the last two years.
That’s compared to an improvement of 1.2 points in the 10-year average.
The latest report found that most of the improvement in test scores has occurred in states where tests have been redesigned to take into account changes in test takers’ educational attainment.
“The gains in scores in these states reflect the development of more high-quality test-takers, such as students who are more likely to take standardized tests,” the report said.
“As with any state-based measure, this study has some limitations, particularly because it relies on survey data.
But the trend is clear: More and more states are achieving better performance on state-specific tests and in tests that measure education outcomes.”
The report found states were doing a better job of teaching students to think critically about their abilities, improve self-discipline and take responsibility for their lives.
But that’s not translating into better student test scores, it noted.
More than half the states and District of Colombia had better scores than the state average on the ACT, the national exam that tests students’ math and reading skills.
The scores were lower than the nation average in nine of the states.
But most states saw a decline in the state level test scores of students who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or ASDs.
In New York, the state saw a fall in state-graded test scores for students with the condition.
In Florida, that number fell by about 4 points.
In Texas, scores fell by nearly 4 points for students who were diagnosed with ADHD.
In Maryland, scores dropped by more than 2 points.
In New Jersey, the scores fell for students diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
In Connecticut, scores were reduced by nearly 7 points.