DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa's education system ranked 11th in the nation for providing students a chance for future success, and 16th in the country for K-12 achievement, according to an annual report released Wednesday.
The rankings, part of the Quality Counts report from the national publication Education Week, are among four categories rated in the newly revamped report, which previously assigned overall grades to each state. Last year, Iowa got a C- and ranked last in the country in education standards.
This year, the state ranked 11th in the category "Chances for Success," which measured 13 indicators, including parental involvement, preschool enrollment, post-secondary participation and adult annual income.
"Smart states, like smart companies, try to make the most of their investments by ensuring that young people's education is connected from one stage to the next," said Virginia B. Edwards, the editor and publisher of Education Week and Quality Counts.
In the "Elementary and Secondary Performance" category, Iowa ranked 16th in the nation, earning points for student proficiency and high school graduation rate.
The state didn't do as well with its education alignment policies, ranking 34th in the country for creating a seamless education system from cradle to career, a category that measures factors such as school readiness, college preparation and work-readiness.
The lowest ranking Iowa received was 43rd in "Standards, Assessments, and Accountability," which looked at standards in English, math, science, history and social studies, and how often the state revised standards. School accountability was rated by areas such as how the state rewards improving schools, how it sanctions and assists low-performing schools and measures individual student growth.
"This year's Quality Counts report shines the spotlight on those states that have given their children the greatest chance for success and those states that have more to do in preparing their young people for the challenges they will face as adults," said Mary Jo Waits, center director for the Pew Center on the States, which funded the report.
Judy Jeffrey, director of Iowa's education department, said she's pleased with the revamped report.
"It's been much more comprehensive and helpful to policymakers to really look at the extent of some of the indicators from birth to the career," she said.
Last year, Jeffrey blamed the C- grade on the state's policy of local control, which meant there were different standards throughout the state.
"Everybody focused on the grade, and they didn't really focus on the things that really matter," Jeffrey said.
The report, titled "Quality Counts 2007: From Cradle to Career, Connecting American Education From Birth to Adulthood," ranked Virginia, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire at the top of the Chances for Success index, while Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Louisiana and New Mexico are listed at the bottom of the index.