Maryland students have some of the nation’s best opportunities for success later in life, according to a national report being released today.

Education Week, the nation’s leading education newspaper, ranked Maryland fifth in the nation in the “Chance for Success” index, a new formula developed by the newspaper’s research department.  The formula combines both education-related factors—such as preschool enrollment, test scores, and graduation rates—with factors not directly related to education, such as family income and linguistic integration.

The Chance for Success Index ranks Maryland just behind Virginia, Connecticut, Minnesota and New Jersey, and tied with Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“Our primary goal has always been to provide every student with a quality foundation on which to build a successful life,” said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick.  “We are gratified that Education Week continues to recognize the strength of our system.”

Maryland schools have long been held in high regard by the researchers at Education Week.  Under its former grading system, Maryland was one of only two states to receive an “A” grade for its system of standards and accountability for six straight years. 

The newspaper no longer provides letter grades.  “Quality Counts,” now in its 11th year, went through major change in its new version, while continuing to assess state progress in a variety of areas key to classroom success. Most of the state-level data gathered by Education Week comes from a policy survey of the states conducted in the summer and fall of 2006.  In addition, the publication draws on state-level data from such organizations as the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Bureau of the Census, and the American Federation of Teachers.