Academic Achievement

Student performance in Louisiana is very weak—the state ranks among the lowest in the nation. Fourth graders stand a full 16 percentage points below the national average of 42% for students at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Louisiana earns a very low grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 11% of African-American 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam, 7% below the national average.

Return on Investment

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

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Louisiana 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

Louisiana earns a failing grade preparing its students for college and careers. Only 5 students out of 100 pass an AP exam, the second-lowest figure in the nation. 

21st Century Teacher Force

Louisiana does an above average job of creating a strong teacher workforce. It does a decent job of identifying effective teachers but struggles with exiting ineffective ones. 

Parental Options

Louisiana earns an excellent grade for having one of the nation’s largest statewide school choice programs. It has a very good charter school law and increasing digital learning options. 

Data Quality

Louisiana earns a good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. The Pelican State provides funding for a longitudinal data system and is expanding the capacity for stakeholders to use that data.


Louisiana receives an above average grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. Students have access to high-quality digital learning options, but the state could continue to improve the necessary infrastructure for digital learning. 

International Competitiveness

Louisiana earns a very low grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. Only 19% of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard. Only 3 out of 1000 students pass an AP foreign language exam and only about 2 out of 100 students pass an AP STEM exam.

Fiscal Responsibility

Louisiana receives average marks on fiscal responsibility. Only 56% of the state’s pension is currently funded, but its last contribution was close to 100%.