Academic Achievement

Student performance in Idaho is average. The Gem State is around the national average in the percentage of 4th and 8th graders who score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading and math exams. 

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Idaho earns a mediocre grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 13% of Hispanic 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam. The national average is 20%. Because the state does not have a large enough African-American student population to meet NAEP sampling requirements, Idaho’s grade is based solely on low-income and Hispanic students. 

Return on Investment

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

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Idaho posts below 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

Idaho earns a below average grade preparing its students for college and careers. Despite an 84% high school graduation rate, students’ chances for college attendance by age 19 are below the national average.

21st Century Teacher Force

Idaho does a weak job of creating a strong teacher workforce. While the Gem State does an average job identifying effective teachers, it does poorly removing ineffective ones. 

Parental Options

Idaho does a mediocre job providing parents with strong school choice options. An improved charter school law removed the cap on the number of charter schools that can operate in Idaho, but a relatively small percentage of students are currently enrolled in a school of choice. 

Data Quality

Idaho earns a good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. The state provides funding for a longitudinal data system and is working to ensure that data can be accessed and used.


Idaho receives a poor grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. The state does not provide sufficient high-quality digital learning options for students.

International Competitiveness

Idaho earns an average grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. Only about 33% of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard.

Fiscal Responsibility

Idaho receives high marks on fiscal responsibility. Eighty-five percent of the state’s pension is funded, and the state’s most recent pension contribution was 86%.