Iowa has the worst rate of education improvement in the United States according to a newly released Harvard study.
Iowa, which had some of the highest scoring students in math, science and reading in 1992, has shown the least amount of growth since then heading into 2011, according to the study titled “Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance.”
Maryland leads the nation for the most growth.
The results of the study are based on national and international assessment tests. Nine states, including South Dakota, did not have enough information to qualify for the study.
Among the study’s findings is that spending more money per student does not necessarily correlate to better academic performance. Iowa falls in the middle of the pack by increasing spending per student by almost $3,000 from 1990 to 2011 while still getting the least improvement. Nebraska also increased spending by about $3,000 per student, but ranked 36th in improvement.
Florida, which ranked second in education growth, was last in increased spending. Florida has spent only an additional $1,000 per student since 1990. New York state, which led the nation by increasing spending per student by almost $6,000, ranked 19th in improvement.
A statement on the website for the special assistant for education for Gov. Terry Branstad said the study creates a sense of urgency for discussions about student achievement and instructional practices.
“The study is more evidence that Iowa must shake off complacency and build a consensus for how to give our students a globally-competitive education,” the statement said. “Iowa has a strong foundation to build upon, but many other states and nations have moved faster to improve the quality of education.”
Internationally, the United States ranks 25th out of 49 countries in improvement. Latvia tops the list with Chile and Brazil following in second and third. Sweden ranks last.