Our goal is to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states by 2020.

The newest data find Kentucky students already in the Top 20 in reading, science, graduation rates, and completion of associate degrees, and on track for top 20 in fourth grade mathematics and high school graduates going on to college.

Kentucky has lost ground to other states in preschool enrollment, eighth-grade mathematics, and bachelor degree completion.  Those results are disturbing:  Kentucky’s economic future depends on investment in high-quality early learning options, rigorous and aligned mathematics instruction, and effective strategies to improve postsecondary completion.

The preschool result is grounds for special concern, because the percent of three-year-olds and four-year-olds in preschool is lower now than in the original 2008 report.

Results are also improving too slowly in AP credits earned in high school, adults with high school diplomas and bachelor degrees, and the percent of bachelor degree recipients with science, technology, engineering, or math majors.

Education support results are mixed, with teacher salaries on track to reach top 20, funding for P-12 education improving too slowly, and higher education funding and family higher education costs moving in the wrong direction.

Top 20 rankings are still within Kentucky’s reach, but getting there by 2020 will require renewed and deepened efforts across the Commonwealth.


Previous Reports

Supporting Documents: Top 20 Detail (Download) 10 Step Detail (Download) 10 Challenges Detail (Download)


New results show Kentucky moving up on categories, either reaching the Top 20 or improving at a rate to get there by 2020.

Kentucky ranks:

  • 8th in fourth-grade reading
  • 9th in fourth-grade science
  • 9th in high school graduation rate
  • 16th in associate degree completion
  • 18th in eighth-grade science
  • 19th in eighth-grade reading
  • 21st in high school graduates going to college
  • 21st in fourth grade mathematics
  • 24th in students earning AP college credit in high school
  • 25th in average teacher salary


On three categories, Kentucky has gains, but the state is moving too slowly to reach the Top 20 on time.

Kentucky ranks:

  • 30th in adults 18 to 24 with high school diploma or equivalent
  • 38th in bachelor or degree completion
  • 39th in adults 25 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 39th in per-pupil funding for K-12 education
  • 41st in STEM share of bachelor degrees


New results show Kentucky stuck or losing ground on five categories.

Kentucky ranks:

  • 26th in share of higher education funding paid by families
  • 27th in per-pupil total higher education funding
  • 39th in eighth-grade mathematics
  • 40th in preschool enrollment

Where are we today?  What does our progress look like?

Each category below shows Kentucky’s current standing among the 50 states n the most recent data, highlighted with the blue bar.  The green bars show Kentucky’s position in our 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 reports.  the red dot and dotted line mark the goal of reaching the Top 20.  Gray dotted lines mark 10th, 30th, and 40th position.

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