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Maryland ranks 4th on Education Week list

Maryland earned a B grade and ranked fourth in a national report on public education released Thursday.

For the second year in a row, Massachusetts took the top ranking, earning a B-plus grade, while the nation received an overall grade of C in a report by the national newspaper Education Week.

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The publication ranked state education systems based on statistical information. Maryland was behind Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Maryland earned an overall score of 82.7 out of 100, while Massachusetts scored 86.8 in the report titled "Called to Account: New Directions in School Accountability." The report examines how new state and federal strategies are changing the assessment of school performance, according to a statement released with the report.

Maryland lost the No. 1 title two years ago after changes were made in the scoring criteria, not due to a dip in performance.

The rankings this year looked at three categories: K-12 achievement, school finance and "chance for success," in which Maryland ranked fifth, fourth and ninth, respectively.

William Reinhard, a spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education, said not much has changed in the rankings.

"Our grades haven't changed," Reinhard said. "Maryland is really focused on improving student achievement. Maryland has a lot of terrific schools and some schools that need improvement," he said.

Christopher B. Swanson, vice president of the nonprofit that publishes Education Week, said in a statement that this year's report is timely given the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act, which shifts the federal government's authority in education back to the states and school districts.

"After a decade and a half of strong federal influence over school accountability, the states are poised to take the helm again and chart their own course," Swanson said. "This promises to be a period of great innovation and opportunity, but also one of considerable uncertainty and divergence, when states may take very different paths forward."

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