Academic Achievement

Relative to other states, student performance in Colorado is very good. Fourth graders score 8 percentage points above the national average of 42% in the percentage at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Colorado earns an above average grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Thirty percent of Hispanic 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. The national average is 26%. 

Return on Investment

Student achievement in Colorado is very high relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living. 

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Colorado posts above average marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

Colorado earns a high grade preparing its students for college and careers, with 24 students out of 100 passing an AP exam. 

21st Century Teacher Force

Colorado does an average job of creating a strong teacher workforce. While the Centennial State does well removing ineffective teachers, it is less adept at expanding the pool of teachers. 

Parental Options

Colorado does an excellent job providing parents with good school choice options. The state has a strong charter school law and a relatively high percentage of students enrolled in schools of choice.

Data Quality

Colorado earns an above average grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. It creates progress reports for student and school achievement and provides funding to support a longitudinal data system. 


Colorado receives an average grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. The state continues to improve student access to high-quality digital content. 

International Competitiveness

Colorado earns a very high grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy, with about 36% of students proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard. 

Fiscal Responsibility

Colorado receives low marks on fiscal responsibility. Only 63% of its pension is funded, and the state’s most recent pension contribution was 85%.