Academic Achievement

Relative to other states, student performance in Washington is very strong. Eighth graders stand 8 and 7 percentage points above the national average in the percentage at or above the proficient level on both the NAEP math and reading exams, respectively. The national average is 34% for math and 35% for reading.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Washington earns a very high grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Twenty-nine percent of African-American 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam, 11 percentage points above the national average.

Return on Investment

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

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Washington 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

Washington earns a below average grade preparing its students for college and careers. While 21 students out of 100 pass an AP exam, students’ chances for college attendance by age 19 are low relative to the national average.

21st Century Teacher Force

Washington does an average job of creating a strong teacher workforce. The state struggles to deliver well-prepared teachers.

Parental Options

Washington does a good job providing parents with strong school choice options. The Evergreen State has a mediocre charter school law that caps the number of charter schools, but students have increasing digital learning options. 

Data Quality

Washington earns a good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. It is a model for creating strong feedback reports on high school performance. 


Washington receives a good grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. While a new charter law has expanded high-quality options, the state could continue to supply the necessary infrastructure to support digital learning in schools.

International Competitiveness

Washington earns a high grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy, with 35% of student’s proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard.

Fiscal Responsibility

Washington receives above average marks on fiscal responsibility. Ninety-five percent of its pension is funded, and the most recent contribution was 74%.