The States Ranked by Test Scores

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State testing is among the most widely used tools for evaluating public schools, with exams given annually to students of all grade levels. Though standardized tests have a history of mishaps - most recently in Tennessee, where officials suspended elementary and middle school testing because of a failure by vendors to deliver tests on time - they remain a valued method of assessing performance.

With this in mind, StartClass ranked the states based on their performance on assessment test scores using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the "Nation's Report Card." The NAEP is America's "largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation's students know and can do in select subjects" and was first administered in 1969. These results are for states from the 2015 reading and math assessments for Grades 4 and 8, both deemed critical junctures in academic achievement. Results for Grade 12 from 2015 from each state have not yet been released.

States are ranked based on the average percent of students who scored proficient or above on math and reading tests for the two grades. The math assessment measures students' knowledge and skill in mathematics and their ability to apply their knowledge in problem-solving situations. The reading assessment measures students' reading comprehension by asking them to read grade-appropriate materials and answer questions based on what they have read.

Note: In the event of ties, the state with the higher Grade 8 math proficiency rate was ranked higher on the list.

#50. Nex Mexico

Average percent of students at or above proficient: 22.8 percent

Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 27 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 23 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 21 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 20 percent
  • #49. Alabama

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 24.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 26 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 29 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 17 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 26 percent
  • #48. Mississippi

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 24.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 30 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 26 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 22 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 20 percent
  • #47. Louisiana

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 25 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 30 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 29 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 18 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 23 percent
  • #46. West Virginia

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 27.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 33 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 30 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 21 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 27 percent
  • #45. California

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 28 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 29 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 28 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 27 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 28 percent
  • #44. Nevada

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 28.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 32 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 29 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 26 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 27 percent
  • #43. Arkansas

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 29 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 32 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 32 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 25 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 27 percent
  • #42. Oklahoma

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 30.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 37 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 33 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 23 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 29 percent
  • #41. South Carolina

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 30.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 36 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 33 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 26 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 28 percent
  • #40. Hawaii

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 30.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 38 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 29 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 30 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 26 prcent
  • #39. Michigan

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 31 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 34 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 29 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 29 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 32 percent
  • #38. Georgia

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 31.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 34 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 28 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 30 percent
  • #37. Alaska

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 32 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 30 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 32 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 31 percent
  • #36. Arizona

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 33.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 38 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 30 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 31 percent
  • #35. Tennessee

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 33.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 40 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 33 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 29 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 33 percent
  • #34. Delaware

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 33.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 37 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 37 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 30 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 31 percent
  • #33. New York

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 33.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 36 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 31 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 33 percent
  • #32. Texas

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 33.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 44 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 31 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 32 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 28 percent
  • #31. Florida

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 34.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 42 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 39 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 26 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 30 percent
  • #30. Illinois

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 34.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 37 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 32 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 35 percent
  • #29. Missouri

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 35.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 38 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 36 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 31 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #28. Oregon

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 35.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 37 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 34 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 34 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #27. South Dakota

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 35.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 40 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 34 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 34 percent
  • #26. Kentucky

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 36 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 40 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 40 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 28 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #25. Rhode Island

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 36 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 37 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 40 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 32 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 35 percent
  • #24. Kansas

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 36 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 41 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 33 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 35 percent
  • #23. North Carolina

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 36.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 44 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 38 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 33 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 30 percent
  • #22. Idaho

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 36.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 38 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 36 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 34 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 37 percent
  • #21. Maine

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 37 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 41 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 36 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #20. Maryland

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 37.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 40 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 37 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 37 percent
  • #19. Ohio

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 38.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 45 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 38 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #18. Montana

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 38.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 41 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 37 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 39 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 37 percent
  • #17. Iowa

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 38.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 44 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 38 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 37 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #16. North Dakota

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 38.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 45 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 37 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 39 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 34 percent
  • #15. Colorado

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 39.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 43 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 39 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 37 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 38 percent
  • #14. Wyoming

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 40 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 48 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 41 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 35 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #13. Utah

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 40 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 44 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 40 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 38 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 38 percent
  • #12. Pennsylvania

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 40.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 45 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 41 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 36 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 39 percent
  • #11. Nebraska

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 40.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 46 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 40 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 38 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 38 percent
  • #10. Wisconsin

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 40.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 45 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 37 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 41 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 39 percent
  • #9. Connecticut

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 40.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 41 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 43 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 36 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 43 percent
  • #8. Washington

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 40.8 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 47 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 40 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 39 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 37 percent
  • #7. Virginia

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 41 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 47 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 43 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 38 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 36 percent
  • #6. Indiana

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 41.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 50 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 40 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 39 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 37 percent
  • #5. Vermont

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 43.5 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 43 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 45 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 42 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 44 percent
  • #4. New Jersey

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 44.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 47 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 43 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 46 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 41 percent
  • #3. Minnesota

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 45 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 53 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 39 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 48 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 40 percent
  • #2. New Hampshire

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 47 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 51 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 46 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 46 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 45 percent
  • #1. Massachusetts

    Average percent of students at or above proficient: 50.3 percent

    Percent of students at or above proficient in:

  • Grade 4 Math: 54 percent

  • Grade 4 Reading: 50 percent

  • Grade 8 Math: 51 percent

  • Grade 8 Reading: 46 percent

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