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Alabama public schools ranked nation’s 44th best, according to new study

Alabama’s public schools have been ranked 44th best in the country by the personal finance website WalletHub, which is slightly lower than two other recent rankings by U.S. News and World Report and Education Week.

Researchers at WalletHub examined various criteria across two categories – quality and safety – to make their determinations.

Those criteria included high school graduation rates among low-income students, reading and math test scores, median ACT scores, pupil-teacher ratio, along with share of threatened/injured high school students, share of high school students participating in violence, bullying incidence rate, and disciplinary incidence rate, among others.

The state was ranked 43rd on the quality scale and 45th on the safety scale.

“The WalletHub ranking, like many other rankings that are published about schools, companies, and various organizations, are based on the criteria they used for this particular study,” Dr. Michael Sibley, the Alabama Department of Education’s director of communication, told Yellowhammer News.

“Alabama’s ranking, like any other state, will fluctuate depending on the methodology used and data point considered,” Sibley said.

Earlier this year, Education Week ranked Alabama’s public school system 43rd in the nation, and U.S. News and World Report ranked it 39th.

“Our goal is to create the best possible learning atmosphere for all Alabama students and to prepare them for life after high school, whether that is 2-4 year college, military service, skilled trade, or any other career option sought,” Sibley said.

“We look forward to developing an assessment system that aligns state standards, increasing graduation rates, keeping our students safe and building the future leaders – among many other things,” he said.

The state did have an 87.1 percent graduation rate, according to this year’s Education Week ranking, which is 16th highest in the country.