Academic Achievement

Student performance in Nebraska is average. The state ranks near the middle of the pack in the percentage of 4th and 8th graders at or above the national average on NAEP reading and math exams.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Nebraska earns a low grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 8% of African-American 8th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam, compared with the national average of 14%. 

Return on Investment

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

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Nebraska posts mediocre 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

Nebraska earns an above average grade preparing its students for college and careers. While only 10 students out of 100 pass an AP exam, students’ chances for college attendance by age 19 are above the national average.

21st Century Teacher Force

Nebraska does a weak job of creating a strong teacher workforce. The Cornhusker State especially struggles with removing ineffective teachers. 

Parental Options

Nebraska does a very poor job providing parents with strong school choice options. The state is one of only eight in the country with no charter school law, and there are few other school choice options.

Data Quality

Nebraska earns a below average grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. While it has taken some steps to fund and build a longitudinal data system, parents have limited access to information about their children’s academic progress.


Nebraska receives a very poor grade employing technology to provide excellent instruction and personalized learning. Students have limited access to high-quality digital learning options.

International Competitiveness

Nebraska earns a mediocre grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy, with 35% of students scoring proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard.

Fiscal Responsibility

Nebraska receives high marks on fiscal responsibility. Seventy-nine percent of the state’s pension is funded, and its most recent pension contribution was 91%.