"Maryland public schools are so fortunate to have bipartisan support throughout the State," State Superintendent Lillian Lowery said in a statement. "Our schools have the benefit of strong support from the Governor, other elected officials, educators, parents, business leaders, and the public at large. This ranking could not be achieved without the support of every partner, and we won’t be able to continue our improvement without that broad coalition."
The state received an 87.5, B+ grade in the publication's analysis. Massachusetts trailed by 3.4 points to secure a second place ranking.
At the other end of the spectrum, the report lists South Dakota as the lowest performing state at 69.3, D+.
A majority of the states—38 to be exact—fell along the C range. The nationwide average was 76.9, C+, which is a half point up from the 2012 average of C.
Factors considered in the rankings include indicators of student achievement and teacher quality, disciplinary policies, how students' needs to cope with academic and personal pressures are being met and the role of parents and community groups.
"The conditions for success in schools include not just having high-quality teachers, but ensuring that they are working in schools designed for success. In schools designed for success, there's a growing interest in ensuring that school climate supports students," said Deborah Delisle, the U.S. Department of Education's assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, in a statement in the report.