New Jersey schools ranked third in the nation based on factors such as performance, funding, safety, class size and instructor credentials, according to a WalletHub study that compared the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia across 32 key metrics.

New Jersey scored well in numerous categories, which led to the high overall ranking, including:

  • First: existence of a digital learning plan.
  • Second: best reading test scores.
  • Third: best math test scores.
  • Fourth: pupil-teacher ratio
  • Tied for fourth: lowest dropout rate.

Other rankings of interest include median SAT score (New Jersey ranked 24th), median ACT score (12th), and bullying incidence rate (12th).

Each of the study’s 32 metrics was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest quality of public K–12 education. Researchers determined the weighted average of each state and the District of Columbia’s across all metrics to calculate overall scores and national ranks.

The only states to rank higher than New Jersey were Massachusetts and Connecticut.

WalletHub also asked a panel of experts to respond to various questions, including:

  • Does variation in per-pupil spending explain most of the variation in school quality?
  • What can state and local policymakers do to improve their school systems without raising taxes?
  • In setting a child up for success, how important is the quality of the school relative to other factors (family, neighborhood, etc.)?
  • In evaluating the best and worst school systems, what are the top five indicators?

You can find individual expert responses by clicking on their headshots in the “Ask the Experts” section of the study’s findings.

WalletHub used data from the following sources in its rankings: the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Education, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Center for Education Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Education Commission of the States, U.S. News & World Report, College Board, Ballotpedia, ACT, State Educational Technology Directors Association, Civil Rights Data Collection and Zendrive.