Opportunity Washington releases first quarterly update to the Opportunity Scorecard: Washington drops four places to No. 28.

Today we  released the first update to our quarterly Opportunity Washington Scorecard. Since we introduced the Scorecard last fall, Washington has dropped four places, from 24th to 28th.  If you’re on our email list, you’ll be receiving the report soon; if you’re not, please visit our website and join the effort.

The short video below tells the story well. 



The Scorecard is a data-driven analysis of 50-state performance across three categories that communities across Washington tell us are most important – Achieve (education quality and outcomes), Connect (transportation efficiency and reliability), and Employ (economic vitality). We track 16 variables, using data from reliable national sources. To normalize scoring across the data sets, the median score is set at 75 for each variable and the score of the 10th best state is set at 100.

The analysis produces a weighted average or “Opportunity Score” for each state. Achieve and Employ each make up 40 percent of the Opportunity Score; Connect 20 percent. Our goal is to make Washington a top 10 state with a score of 100 overall and in each category. 

As mentioned above, this quarter Washington drops to 28th overall with an Opportunity Score of 68. Utah takes the top spot with an Opportunity Score of 127. Previous leader, Massachusetts, falls to second overall, but maintains a first place ranking in the subcategories of Achieve and Employ.

Breaking down our state’s performance in the three categories:

  • Washington falls to 21st in Achieve with a score of 80. (Previous ranking: 18) Our state improved in 4th grade reading and high school graduation rate, but fell in 8th grade math achievement.
  • Washington holds steady at 38th in Connect with a score of 41. Our state maintained its ranking despite a drop in its Connect score resulting from a longer average commute time (now 26.8 minutes).
  • Washington falls to 26th in Employ with a score of 74. (Previous ranking: 23) The overall business tax burden increased to 58 percent of state and local taxes. However, the state unemployment insurance tax rate dropped.

This quarter, we take closer look at the Achieve data and share recent survey results assessing what Washingtonians believe is important to improving performance. According to a survey of 500 Washington adults (conducted Nov. 24 – Dec. 1, 2015):

  • 94 percent believe it is very important or important to raise the state’s high school graduation rate, which is currently 78 percent.
  • 85 percent prefer to raise the graduation rate by increasing student achievement, rather than lowering standards.
  • Two-thirds believe it is important to have test-based requirements to ensure students master basic high school-level skills before graduation.
  • Nearly three-quarters agree it is important that students have the option of attending public charter schools.

We will continue to monitor progress as we work together to expand Washington’s culture of opportunity to individuals, families, employers, and communities in every corner of the state. Please check back frequently and join our mailing list.